Cards unable to conjure up comeback magic

Cards unable to conjure up comeback magic

ST. LOUIS -- A sense of "Here we go again" permeated the dugout, players acknowledged afterward, as Mark Reynolds came to bat in the ninth inning on Wednesday. Having already rallied to pull within one run an inning earlier, the Cardinals positioned themselves for another dramatic finish as Peter Bourjos sped his way to third on the first out of the ninth.

But for the first time in a long time, this one would end absent of a St. Louis celebration.

The Cubs hung on for a 6-5 victory to end the Cardinals' eight-game winning streak, which had most recently featured three walk-off wins and two more come-from-behind victories. Four times the Cardinals pulled to within one run on Wednesday, and four times they stranded the potential tying run in scoring position.

No missed opportunity had been more promising, however, than the last one.

With Bourjos on third, Cubs closer Hector Rondon pitched around Matt Holliday to instead take his chances with Reynolds, who had already stung the Cubs for a grand slam and game-winning double in this series. This time, though, Reynolds whiffed on a 2-1 hanging slider and then swung through another to become the second out of the inning.

"I feel as bad as anybody that I didn't hit the ball out there, at least hit a sac fly to tie the game," Reynolds said afterward. "He hung me a slider I should have put in play. I didn't get it done. After that, he threw me a slider that looked like a strike and ended as a ball."

Reynolds finished the night 0-for-5 with three strikeouts as the team's cleanup hitter.

Behind him, Jhonny Peralta, who had homered earlier in the evening, grounded out to end the team's final comeback threat.

It marked just the third time this season that the Cardinals dropped a game in which they scored more than three runs. And amid the best start in modern franchise history, it was the rare instance of a comeback left incomplete.

"[The team is] just going to keep coming," manager Mike Matheny said. "Regardless of what's happened in recent games, just keep playing, one at-bat, one pitch at a time. It's a great philosophy. It's going to be an entertaining team to watch if we keep playing baseball like that."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.