CHICAGO (AP) -- Starlin Castro is continuing to find new ways to make 2013 the worst season in his young career.
Castro was benched shortly after making a mental mistake that allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to score a run and the Cardinals went on to defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 Saturday.
Already up 1-0, the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Matt Carpenter lofted a pop-up to short left field and Castro called off Junior Lake to make the catch. Castro immediately put his head down and hesitated to throw home. Jon Jay took advantage of the mistake, tagging up and scoring from third base.
"I know the outs and everything," Castro said. "I just put my head down, like a mental mistake. I don't want to (make) any excuse for that, it's my mistake and that's why I pay for that, that's why I got taken out of the game. I feel really, really bad that that happened."
After the inning, manager Dale Sveum said something to Castro as he walked down the steps of the dugout. When the Cubs came out to play defense in the sixth, Donnie Murphy switched from third base to shortstop to replace Castro, and Cody Ransom came off the bench to play third.
"Obviously we had a big blunder there," Sveum said. "Lost track of what was going on for whatever reasons and I pulled him out of the game."
Sveum was then asked if Castro gave him an explanation for the mistake.
"No," Sveum responded. "There is no explanation."
After the game, Castro repeatedly apologized to his teammates, coaching staff and to hard-luck loser Travis Wood.
Wood (7-10) retired the first nine St. Louis batters of the game. He gave up four runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, including a two-run home run by Yadier Molina. Molina's ninth homer was his first hit in eight at-bats since he came off the disabled list Thursday.
But the biggest play of the day may have been Jay scoring on what the umpires ruled an infield fly.
"It was Jon doing the right thing, tagging, maybe being able to draw a throw," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think good teams constantly find ways to put pressure on the defense, and Jon is such a heads-up player, he took two hard steps and saw he had an opportunity."
The Cubs were shutout for the fifth time in seven games at Wrigley Field. The Cubs left the bases loaded in the third. Darwin Barney and Wood singled and Lake drew a one-out walk. But Cardinals starter Joe Kelly worked out of the jam when he got Anthony Rizzo to strike out and ended the inning on a Nate Schierholtz ground out.
Kelly (4-3) tossed six shutout innings and allowed four hits while striking out six and walking three. Kelly hasn't lost since joining the Cardinals' rotation on July 6.
Despite the alarming lack of offense, the story for the Cubs was Castro's continued lack of focus on the field. Sveum said the coaching staff will continue to work with Castro, but the onus is on the young shortstop to make sure the mental lapses don't continue.
"He's played in the big leagues long enough and we've had our discussions," Sveum said. "There comes a point where you have to cross that bridge and get to the next level. He feels as bad as anybody, he knows what happened and he feels awful right now."
Sveum was unsure if Castro would play Sunday, but added that he had no intention of giving up on him. He cited Castro's past offensive success and, despite Saturday's gaffe, what Sveum believes are improvements on the defensive side.
After hitting at least .300 in his first two seasons and leading the league in hits in 2011, Castro regressed a bit in 2012. However, 2013 has seen him reach new lows, hitting only .244 with a sub-.300 on base percentage.
"It's bad. It's an unbelievable year," Castro said. "Especially for me, I've never had a year like that. I feel really bad, especially with the mistake today and my struggling at home plate. But I don't put my head down. I know I can be good and finish strong."
NOTES: Cubs OF Brian Bogusevic, on the 15-day disabled list since July 15 for a strained left hamstring, will report to Triple-A Iowa to continue rehab. ... Cubs RHP Scott Baker, on the 60-day disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery, will make his second rehab start Sunday with Single-A Dayton. ... Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson (7-12, 5.05 ERA) will face Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (13-7, 2.71) Sunday in the series finale. . The Cardinals recalled LHP Tyler Lyons from Triple-A Memphis before the game. He is 2-4 with a 5.35 ERA in seven starts. LHP Sam Freeman was optioned to Memphis after pitching four scoreless innings Friday against the Cubs.
CHICAGO (AP) - Jake Arrieta threw seven shutout innings and Nate Schierholtz drove in three runs to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 7-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Arrieta (1-0) allowed two hits and struck out seven for his first win with the Cubs.
The hard-throwing right-hander was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in a July 2 trade.
Before Friday, his only other day on the Cubs' roster was as the 26th man for a doubleheader against Milwaukee on July 30.
The Cubs snapped a four-game losing streak with the win and are 7-7 this season against the Cardinals. St. Louis has dropped six of nine overall.
The Cubs had been shut out in four of their past five home games - a streak dating back to Aug. 3.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook (7-8) walked the first three batters he faced in the bottom of the first inning.
Schierholtz, the cleanup hitter, hit a two-run single to center to put the Cubs.
After Welington Castillo grounded into a double play, Donnie Murphy followed with a run-scoring single to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
Arrieta sailed through the Cardinals lineup. After allowing a single to Carlos Beltran in the second, he got Kolten Wong to ground into a double play in his major league debut.
Those two outs started a streak of 13 straight outs (including five strikeouts) until he walked Westbrook with one in the sixth.
The next batter, Matt Carpenter, also walked to give the Cardinals their first threat of the game, but Jon Jay grounded into a fielder's choice and Matt Holiday struck out looking to end the inning.
The Cubs added a run in the fifth on Schierholtz's sacrifice fly and then scored two more in the sixth on a run-scoring double by Darwin Barney and a safety squeeze bunt by Arrieta.
The final run in the seventh scored on a wild pitch.
NOTES: With the addition of prospect Kolten Wong (who went 0-for-3 in his debut) to the Cardinals' roster and lineup on Friday, former World Series MVP David Freese was relegated to the bench with leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter (who had been playing second) moving to third base. "I would say it's a day-by-day situation," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I'm not saying (Wong) has to play every day - there are gonna be times when we want to get David back in the lineup - so I imagine there's gonna be some split playing opportunities." ... Cubs RHP Matt Guerrier was scheduled to have surgery on his throwing arm on Friday. The surgery, performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek, is expected to sideline Guerrier six to eight months. ... The Cards' Joe Kelly (3-3) faces Travis Wood (7-9) in the second game of the series on Saturday.
The Cardinals are expected to add 2011 first round pick, Kolten Wong, to the roster in time for today's game in Chicago against the Cubs. Wong hit.303 with 10 hime runs and 45 RBIs in 107 games with Triple-A Memphis this season. The Cardinals optioned outfielder Adron Chambers last night to make room for Wong on the roster. Speculation is that Matt Carpenter could move to third base while Wong starts at second. David Freese was replaced in the seventh inning of yesterday's win against Pittsburgh.