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Cubs' Rusin impresses in brief call-up

Published: Sunday, April 13, 2014 12:12 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP photo)
Cubs' Junior Lake (left) is congratulated by teammate Luis Valbuena after Lake hit a solo home run during the first inning Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS – Chris Rusin gave the Chicago Cubs something to remember Saturday.

Called up from Triple-A late Friday night, Rusin relieved Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva with no one out and two on in the fourth inning of Saturday's 10-4 loss.

He allowed those runners to score on a single by Jon Jay, but settled in nicely after that for the final five innings. Rusin allowed one run on three hits with a strike out and an intentional walk.

"He helped save the bullpen," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.

Following the game, Rusin found out this would be his only appearance with the big club – for a while, anyway. The Cubs plan to option him back to Triple-A Iowa.

Rusin was not surprised.

"You pitch where they tell you to pitch and go where they tell you to go," he said. "But this was big for my confidence and something I can take with me."

If he continues to pitch the way he did Saturday, Rusin figures to be back soon enough. He was lying in bed Friday night when he got the call to report to St. Louis.

"I was ready to go," said Rusin, who made it to St. Louis about two hours before first pitch.

His performance impressed the winning pitcher Saturday.

"He did exactly what he was supposed to do,' said St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright. "He came in there and threw strikes and saved his bullpen. I thought he did a nice job."

"He helped save the bullpen," Renteria said.

Matt Adams homered, Matt Carpenter drove in two runs and Wainwright saved his own tired bullpen by lasting seven innings for the Cardinals.

It was hardly a vintage performance by Wainwright (2-1), who helped his own cause with an RBI single. He gave up a homer to Junior Lake on his first pitch and allowed six more hits and three runs after that while striking out eight. The four runs were twice as many as Wainwright yielded in his first two starts.

The win was Wainwright's 101st with the Cardinals, tying Matt Morris, Larry Jackson and Max Lanier for 10th place on the franchise list.

In addition to Carpenter, Daniel Descalso also had two hits with an RBI and two runs scored. Adams hit his first home run, a leadoff shot in the second inning.

The Cubs' Nate Schierholtz, who had four hits Friday night, had two doubles and an RBI.

St. Louis did most of its damage off Villanueva (1-3), who allowed nine runs and 10 hits in three innings.

After Adams' homer tied the game at 1, the Cardinals sent eight more batters to the plate in the second. Molina and Allen Craig followed Adams with singles, and they came home on RBI singles by Descalso and Wainwright. Carpenter then drove home Descalso with an infield single to shortstop that made it 4-1.

St. Louis sent 10 more hitters to the plate in the fourth inning and broke it open by scoring five times.

Descalso started the inning with a double and was safe at third on Wainwright's sacrifice, with Wainwright reaching first on the fielder's choice. Carpenter and Kolten Wong followed with RBI singles and Matt Holiday had an RBI groundout. Jay's single off reliever Chris Rusin with two outs made it 9-2.

Notes: Renteria had a successful replay challenge in the third inning of first base umpire Jerry Layne's call on Jay's grounder to shortstop Starlin Castro. Layne had called Jay safe at first, but after reviewing the play, Jay was ruled out. ... St. Louis SS Jhonny Peralta, who has two hits in his first 32 at-bats for the lowest batting average among all qualifiers (.063), was given the day off. ... Castro, who had two hits, has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. ... Former Cardinal Edwin Jackson (0-0) will take the mound for the Cubs in the series finale Sunday against Michael Wacha (1-0). ... Craig was 1 for 12 on the homestand and hitless in his last eight at-bats before his second-inning single. ... With a victory Sunday, the Cubs can win a series for the first time since taking two of three from the Reds from Sept. 9-11 last season. The Cubs have dropped eight straight series since.

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