Hazelbaker Breaks Up No-No

(Busch Stadium) For the first time since September 25, 1995 at Wrigley Field, the St. Louis Cardinals were held to just one-hit during a game against the Cubs as they fell to Chicago 4-1 on Monday night. On that date 31 years ago, Bernard Gilkey did the honors of breaking up the no-hit attempt with an RBI triple. Tonight, it was Jeremy Hazelbaker who hit a solo home run to lead off the 9th inning.

“You want to be aggressive, but you want to be selective,” said Hazelbaker of his approach. “It’s just deeper into the game. He’s throwing a no-hitter into the 9th inning. Just trying to put an end to that but still trying to get on base–trying to do what I can to get on base for my team, help my team out.”

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis CardinalsPrior to that at-bat, Hazelbaker had been 1-25 in 0-2 counts and was hitless in his last 14 at-bats overall.

“Yeah, you just want to break it up,” he continued. “But at the same time, you don’t go up to the plate thinking, ‘the guy’s got a no-hitter, I want to put an end to it’ you go up thinking about what your plan is, what your approach is, and you think about what you plan on doing that AB with the pitches you want to swing at. What you want to look to accomplish in that at-bat.”

“Not many mistakes in the middle of the plate,” said Matheny. “He was pushing the corners all day long and he’s been doing that most of the season. Didn’t give a whole lot.”

Many of the Cardinals faithful departed early from the game, leaving a large contingent of Chicago fans to take over Busch Stadium with their cheering sections, which included a boisterous standing ovation for Hendricks as he stepped to the plate in the 9th inning.

“I didn’t sense that,” said Matheny. “We’ve had a lot of Cubs fans here–this year maybe it seems like more in the past. I didn’t really notice it. I noticed when Jeremy hit that home run it got pretty loud, so that was good to see.”

“There was a lot of blue out there, but that doesn’t change anything for us,” said Hazelbaker. “We still want to go out there and win for our fans and do as well as we can for our fans.”

The Cardinals are now 2-5 against the Cubs at Busch Stadium this season, but 5-2 at Wrigley Field.

CARPENTER EARLY DEPARTURE

After the 7th inning, Matt Adams took over at first base for Matt Carpenter.

“His back tightened up a little bit, but had good reports after the game and should be okay,” explained Matheny.

MADDON EJECTED

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals–Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the 9th inning after Hendricks allowed the Hazelbaker home run.

“He needed some more time and he got it,” said Matheny. “Yeah. That’s exactly what happened there.”

Interestingly, Maddon was still allowed to go the mound and make the pitching change to bring in Aroldis Chapman–after he had been ejected by crew chief Joe West, who was behind the plate.

photo credit:  Jeff Curry, Jason Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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