Roach's once-promising start unravels quickly

Fourth-inning single by Wacha off Cubs starter's glove shifts game's momentum

Roach's once-promising start unravels quickly

ST. LOUIS -- Donn Roach was as advertised, a ground-ball pitcher who kept the Cardinals from hitting any home runs. Unfortunately for the Cubs right-hander, the one mistake he made was on defense.

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Making the second Major League start of his career and his first with the Cubs, Roach gave up four runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings and took the loss in the Cardinals' 8-1 romp. The right-hander, promoted from Triple-A Iowa to sub for injured lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, helped himself by hitting an RBI single in the second.

Roach's RBI single

But the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the fourth and had runners at first and second with one out when Michael Wacha hit a comebacker to Roach. The ball deflected off Roach's glove for a hit and the bases were loaded. Roach then exited.

"I thought I had it," Roach said of Wacha's ball. "It was a little out of my reach. I stabbed at it, kicked it away and it ruined my day."

"He did fine," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Roach. "The big play there is the deflection off his glove. That was a huge play in the game. If we make that, then it comes to [reliever Travis Wood] with a clean inning the next inning and the world is a different place."

Carpenter's two-run single

Instead, Wood served up a two-run single to Matt Carpenter, and the Cardinals were on a roll.

"We have opportunities to get on top, build off it -- it's been there," Maddon said. "We just have to do better."

In the last four games, all losses, the Cubs have gone 4-for-27 with runners in scoring position, stranded 35 runners, collected 36 hits and scored five runs. They're now 10 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central Division.

"If they have an opportunity to score runs, they score," Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro said. "We have to keep grinding. It's a good test for us."

Maybe the Cubs are pressing?

"We try to score, like, 10 runs in one at-bat, and that's not going to happen," Castro said. "You have to keep grinding it out and every opportunity they give to us, take it."

Roach induces bases-loaded DP

Roach would like another opportunity to start, but his status was uncertain. Wada, sidelined because of cramping in his left shoulder, was feeling better on Saturday.

"I'd love another shot, yes," Roach said. "You take away the mistake I made trying to make the play, and it could've been a better outing than it was."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.