Yadier Molina beat the Chicago Cubs this weekend without even swinging a bat. The regular Cardinals catcher, out with an injury, watched as Gary Bennett, his .243 career hitting backup, single-handedly swept the Cubs.
Bennett, a Waukegan native, had both his team’s RBI Saturday and a walk-off grand slam Sunday night.
Dusty Baker was impressed with Bennett’s performance, saying “He’s about as hot as I’ve ever seen him. Dang!”
It was another weekend of mostly good pitching and mostly poor defense for the Cubs. On Friday, Juan Mateo allowed just one run over five plus innings, but Aramis Ramirez made an error that lead to a run and then missed an easy grounder later in the game. The Cubs lost 2-0.
Saturday, Rich Hill also gave up just run one while lasting seven innings, but Gary Bennett hit an RBI single off Roberto Novoa to break the 1-1 tie and end the game in the bottom of the ninth.
And on Sunday, Les Walrond started for the Cubs, marking the 18th start by a North Side rookie in the month of August (seriously). With a runner at second and two outs in the third, Scott Rolen hit a single which Jacque Jones overran. The ball rolled to the wall, allowing Rolen to run all the way to the plate.
A passed ball by Michael Barrett allowed another run. Walrond was charged for five earned runs with seven hits and three walks over two and two-third innings. The Cubs clawed back to tie the game at six, but Bennett’s grand slam off Bob Howry in the ninth ended the game and the season series.
Number of the Weekend: 23,452
Times ESPN announcers Rick Sutcliffe and Jon Morgan mentioned Sunday how much they love Albert Pujols, who had two hits in the three-game series.
Number of the Weekend, part II: 23,452
Times Fox announcer Thom Brennaman brought up Dusty Baker’s future with the Cubs during Saturday’s game, even going so far as asking Baker about it during one of Fox’s already intrusive and awkward in-game managerial interviews.