The Chicago Cubs opened their season on Sunday night, but the St. Louis Cardinals spoiled the party as they scored a walk-off win at Busch Stadium.
After the Cubs tied the game on a Willson Contreras home run in the ninth inning, Randall Grichuk blasted a single off the left field wall to score the game-winning run and give the Cardinals a 4-3 victory.
Grichuk also blasted a home run in the eighth inning, giving him three total RBI in the victory for St. Louis.
The Cubs' new lead-off hitter served notice that he's up to the challenge in the first inning, as Kyle Schwarber led off the game with a broken bat single. Anthony Rizzo reached base as well, but Ben Zobrist couldn't drive him in as he grounded into a double play to end the scoring threat.
The Cardinals had a scoring threat of their own in the second inning as Aledmys Diaz lined a double to center field. Jon Lester was able to pitch out of the mess however, as he struck out Jhonny Peralta to end the inning.
Both teams were held scoreless in the second inning, as the Cubs went down quietly and Lester struck out three straight batters after giving up back-to-back singles to lead off the inning.
Schwarber smoked a two-out double to give the Cubs another chance in the third inning, but he was once again stranded in scoring position as Kris Bryant struck out for the second consecutive at-bat.
The scoreless draw came to an end in the third inning as the Cardinals struck first. Dexter Fowler hit an infield single to lead off the inning, and she advanced to third on a single up the middley by Diaz. Matt Carpenter laced a fly ball to right field, and although Zobrist made the catch Fowler scampered home to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Lester was able to escape the inning however, but it came at a price as he went over the 70-pitch plateau to keep the Cubs within a run after three innings of action.
The Cubs continued to struggle against Martinez, as the Cardinals hurler contiued to mow them down. The fourth and fifth innings passed without a big threat by the Cubs, and Bryant struck out again to end the fifth as the Cubs continued to be held scoreless.
The Cardinals loaded the bases in the sixth inning with Carl Edwards Jr on the mound, and the lanky reliever was able to squelch the potential rally. On a full count, Edwards induced a ground ball from Carlos Martinez, and the Cardinals' pitcher grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to keep the Cubs within a run through six innings of action.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Cubs finally chased Martinez from the game, as Willson Contreras and Javier Baez each reached base with singles. Seung-Hwan Oh didn't have much better luck, as he walked Schwarber to load the bases for Bryant.
Unfortunately for Bryant, his rough night at the plate continued, as he popped out to right field and was unable to advance Contreras. Anthony Rizzo also flew out to right, ending the inning and keeping the Cardinals in front by a run.
That failure to score came back to bite the Cubs in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Pedro Strop surrendered an opposite field two-run home run to Randall Grichuk to give St. Louis a 3-0 lead.
As they did so many times last season however, the Cubs didn't quit, and they miraculously tied up the game. After Matt Carpenter allowed Jason Heyward to reach on an infield single, Willson Contreras launched a three-run home run off of Oh to tie the game at 3-3 in the ninth inning.