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.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Just a few days ago, the St. Louis Cardinals had no wins when trailing after eight innings and just one extra-inning victory.
They certainly showed the Pittsburgh Pirates they can go the extra mile.
"We did a good job of bouncing back," said Matt Holliday, who hit a game-ending RBI single in the 12th inning of St. Louis' 6-5 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday. "Winning this game could be very important for us."
Matt Carpenter had four hits and scored the winning run in the Cardinals' second extra-inning triumph over the NL Central leaders in three days.
"Anytime having a walk-off win, it's a big deal," manager Mike Matheny said. "Jumping on it again it today is just the resiliency of this club.
"You could sense it on the bench. The guys weren't going to give in, weren't going to stop pushing."
The Cardinals took two of three in the series to pull within two games of the sagging Pirates, who have dropped five of six. St. Louis won 4-3 in 14 innings in the opener on Tuesday night.
"We had a number of guys that had opportunities," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The great thing about what we're going through is the challenge and opportunities we're all getting.
"It's playoff atmosphere baseball."
The Cardinals lost the division lead when they dropped four of five in Pittsburgh from July 29-Aug. 1.
Rookie Kevin Siegrist (1-1), St. Louis' seventh pitcher, struck out two in a perfect 12th against the heart of the order.
Russell Martin and Clint Barmes homered for Pittsburgh, which blew a 4-0 lead in one inning. Jose Tabata had three straight hits after entering as a pinch hitter.
Carpenter sparked the winning rally with a one-out walk. He went to third on Jon Jay's single before Holliday grounded a single up the middle off Bryan Morris (5-6).
Carpenter, the Cardinals' leadoff man, leads the National League with 48 multihit games and 40 doubles. He entered with league-leading averages of .366 at home and .367 in day games.
Holliday also had an RBI double and is batting .452 during a 12-game hitting streak.
Martin hit a tying leadoff drive off Trevor Rosenthal in the eighth, handing the setup man his second blown save of St. Louis' 4-6 homestand.
The Pirates hit for the cycle against Lance Lynn in a four-run fifth that featured rookie Andrew Lambo's first hit and RBI on a double and Barmes' two-run homer. The Cardinals responded by knocking out A.J. Burnett with five runs in the bottom half on a two-run single by Daniel Descalso and RBIs in consecutive at-bats from Carpenter, Jon Jay and Holliday.
"As good as it looked early, it's never easy against this group," Burnett said. "They figured me out early."
Both managers put a heavy stamp on the game. Hurdle hit for two regulars in the sixth and emptied his bench, and Matheny used three relievers in the sixth and seventh.
St. Louis activated All-Star catcher Yadier Molina from the 15-day disabled list, and he announced his presence almost immediately. He threw out Starling Marte trying to steal third to end the first.
NOTES: The Pirates begin a three-game homestand Friday against the Diamondbacks. Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.95 ERA), who opposes Brandon McCarthy (2-6, 4.73 ERA) in the opener, has lost five of his last six decisions. ... The Cardinals open a three-game series at Chicago, with St. Louis' Jake Westbrook (7-7, 4.11 ERA) opposing minor league callup Jake Arrieta. It will be Westbrook's first appearance since giving up nine runs in 4 2-3 innings of relief on three days' rest after Shelby Miller was knocked out by a liner off his elbow on his second pitch of the game. ... Cardinals reliever Seth Maness, who grounded into a double play and struck out to strand five runners Tuesday night, got his first career hit in the sixth. ... Pirates reliever Tony Watson worked three scoreless innings and retired the heart of the order in the 10th.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) -- Calling it a historic moment, Commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday that Major League Baseball plans to expand its video review process next season, giving managers a tool they've never had in an effort to dramatically reduce the number of incorrect calls made in games.
Selig made the announcement after two days of meetings with representatives of the 30 teams. The proposal is to be voted on by the owners in November.
"I'm proud of them," Selig said about the replay committee. "It's worked out remarkably well. It's historic. There's no question about it."
A 75 percent vote by the owners is needed for approval, and the players' association and umpires would have to agree to any changes to the current system. But the announcement was met with mostly praise at ballparks across the country.
"This is the time. It's time to make the right decision," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It was not available several years ago. So, just live with it, understand it. It makes things better. It makes things more accurate, so what's wrong with that."
MLB executive vice president Joe Torre gave the replay presentation to representatives from all 30 teams Wednesday and it was discussed Thursday morning.
Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, a member of the replay committee along with Torre and former manager Tony La Russa, said the umpires were receptive to the change. Schuerholz said 89 percent of incorrect calls made in the past will be reviewable, but he did not provide a list.
Umpires have come under increased scrutiny following several missed calls this season.
"We believe this will be very impactful and very, very meaningful and useful for all sides," Schuerholz said. "Managers will have a new tool that they'll have to learn how to use."
Managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of a game and two from the seventh inning until the completion of the game. Calls that are challenged will be reviewed by a crew in MLB headquarters in New York City, which will make a final ruling.
A manager who sees a call he feels is incorrect can file a challenge with the crew chief or home plate umpire. Only reviewable plays can be challenged. Non-reviewable plays can still be argued by managers, who can request that the umpires discuss it to see if another member of the crew saw the play differently. Reviewable plays cannot be argued by the manager.
Challenges not used in the first six innings will not carry over, and a manager who wins a challenge will retain it.
The home run replay rules currently in use will be grandfathered in to the new system, Schuerholz said.
MLB expects to use the new system in the 2014 playoffs, and the system could be enhanced in the postseason. Training sessions for umpires will start in the Arizona Fall League this winter and continue into spring training.
"We know we have to prepare people for this," Schuerholz said. "Everyone is embracing it. We believe managers will in time."
Schuerholz said after the first year MLB will look at what worked and what didn't and make adjustments for 2015. "It's going to take some time," he said.
One of Selig's major concerns was the possible slowing of games. Schuerholz said with a direct line of communication between the central office and the ballparks the expectation is that replays under the new system will take 1 minute, 15 seconds. Current replays average just over 3 minutes.
"We want to prevent stalling," Schuerholz said. "If it's a reviewable play, he (the manager) has to tell the umpires he's going to review it."
In other matters, Selig said baseball's investigation of Biogenesis, the now-closed Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs, has been completed.
Alex Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece on Aug. 5 when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players for their relationship to Biogenesis. Rodriguez has appealed his suspension.
Selig also called the Tampa Bay Rays stadium situation "very, very discouraging."
"Baseball needs a resolution to this problem," Selig said with Stuart Sternberg, principal owner of the Rays, in the room listening. "I find it a very, very troubling situation. We were optimistic this was moving in a very positive direction. Unfortunately, it's stalled."
Selig said the situation was serious enough that he was giving "very strong consideration to assigning someone from MLB to intervene in this process, find out exactly what the hell is going on."
"They've been a model organization, extraordinarily capable," Selig said. "They've done everything in their power to make their ballpark situation work. Years have ticked by now with no tangible progress."
The team is obligated to play at outdated Tropicana Field through 2027 and is averaging just over 13,000 fans a game this season. The low attendance figures have led to the Rays receiving millions of dollars in revenue sharing.
"Without that, we wouldn't be able to compete," Sternberg said. "The other owners are looking at it. How many years is this going to be? How much money is it going to be? We should be able to get to the point where the revenue sharing dollars we would receive don't need to be so significant year in and year out."
Relocating is not on the table, Sternberg said.
"Frankly, I haven't been able to get this (new stadium deal) done," Sternberg said. "Something needs to be done and nothing's happening. We've got an enormous following, but something is clearly stopping people from coming through our doors. This isn't a one- or two-year thing. Even the economy has picked up a bit and our attendance has gone down."
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) - Major League Baseball is expanding its video review process next season, giving managers a tool they've never had.
Commissioner Bud Selig calls it a historic moment for the game in a press conference in Cooperstown after two days of meetings with representatives of the 30 teams. The proposal is to be voted on by the owners in November.
Managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of games and two after the seventh inning until the end of the game. Calls that are challenged will be reviewed by a crew in MLB headquarters in New York City, which will make the final ruling.
A 75 percent vote by the owners is needed for approval and the players' association and umpires would have to agree to any changes to the current system.
Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, a member of the replay committee, says the umpires are receptive to the change. Schuerholz says 89 percent of incorrect calls made in the past will be reviewable.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Rams starting linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Dunbar, who was second on the team with 157 tackles last season, is able to participate in all team activities prior to suspension, which begins with the season-opening game against Arizona.
He will be able to practice and play in all exhibition contests.
Dunbar will also miss games against Atlanta, Dallas and San Francisco.
The 6-foot, 235-pounder Dunbar is the second St. Louis player suspended by the league this season. Running back Isaiah Pead will miss the opening game for violation of the substance abuse policy.
Dunbar had 4.5 sacks last season.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Francisco Liriano was dominant coming off the worst outing of his career and the Pittsburgh Pirates got home runs from Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones in a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
The win snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak and gave Pittsburgh a three-game lead in the NL Central.
The Pirates had a five-run cushion after four innings against rookie Shelby Miller, who didn't miss a turn five days after getting drilled on the elbow and lasting just two pitches against the Dodgers. They're 8-4 against the Cardinals heading into the series finale matching A.J. Burnett and Lance Lynn.
Pittsburgh totaled just 10 runs during the losing streak and won in 2 hours, 30 minutes one night after losing 4-3 in 14 innings in a game that lasted 4:55.
Liriano (13-5) allowed four hits with six strikeouts and needed just 94 pitches to beat the Cardinals for the second time this year. He is 3-0 in his career against St. Louis. His last time out, the lefty was punished for 10 runs in 2 1-3 innings at Colorado.
Matt Carpenter doubled and eventually scored on a groundout by Carlos Beltran in the ninth to snap Liriano's shutout bid. He settled for his second complete game of the year.
Alvarez hit his 29th homer an estimated 440 feet to straightaway center leading off the second against Miller (11-8), and with one out Jones lined his 11th over the right field wall estimated at 392 feet. Starling Marte's two-run double capped a three-run fourth, with two of the runs unearned due to fielding error by third baseman David Freese.
Miller gave up two homers for the fourth time and has lost all of those starts, twice against Pittsburgh. In six innings, he gave up five runs, three earned, on eight hits.
Liriano retired the side in order six times, twice with the help of double plays. A third double play helped him escape without damage in the second when the Cardinals got two of their hits.
In the three starts prior to his clunker at Colorado, Liriano allowed one earned run over 21 2-3 innings in winning three straight starts.
The Cardinals are 3-6 with one game to go on a 10-game homestand that began with series losses to the Cubs and Dodgers.
Notes: The Pirates have outscored the Cardinals 14-2 in Liriano's two starts this year. ... Tabata missed his second straight start but entered as a defensive replacement in right field in the eighth. He was scratched with flu-like symptoms Tuesday. ... The Cardinals left a season-high 17 runners on base Tuesday night. ... Matt Holliday has 17 hits during an 11-game hitting streak but also grounded into his major league-leading 27th double play. He also lined into a twin killing in the fourth. ... Nine of the homers off Miller have come with the bases empty.