Yadier Molina, other catchers not stuck with ruling

Posted April 08, 2017

Chicago Cubs' Kyle Schwarber swings on a three-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, April 6, 2017, in St. Louis.

What started it all, was Cubs hitter Matt Sczcur advancing to first base on a dropped third strike.

The Cubs did not ask umpire Quinn Wolcott to check the ball, didn't seem particularly surprised and assumed that Molina was simply using a sticky substance to get a better grip on the ball, given the blustery conditions.

Szczur reached first base before Molina could locate the ball, which was stuck on his chest protector. It was only moments later when Cubs phenom Kyle Schwarber delivered his first home run of the season to give the Cubs a 5-4 lead.

Cubs series heroes: Shortstop Aledmys Diaz hit.286 in the opening set, stealing two bases and hitting a pair of doubles. The right-hander, who'd been out since having Tommy John surgery, gave up two runs and five hits. Russell added insurance later in the inning with another run-producing groundout.

Kolten Wong, 2B: Hitting in the No. 8 slot Thursday, he drew a walk and crushed a double to right-center field.

Until we get a little more information, which we might never get, nobody is going to know why that baseball stuck to Molina's chest protector, which is practically flat. He walked one and fanned four. That brought home J.T. Realmuto, whose single in the 10th was his third hit of the game, including a two-run homer in the eighth that made it 2-all. He was strong and consistent and kept the Cubs in the ballgame. if this is the John Lackey that the Cubs get all season, they will be in good shape.

Cardinals: OF Stephen Piscotty did not start, but came into the game as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning.

Immediately following the Zobrist error, Matt Adams and Randal Grichuk hit back-to-back RBI single, making the score 3-0. James Shields (1-0) threw 51/3 innings, allowing 2 hits and striking out 5. He will report to extended spring training next week and join Class AAA Gwinnett when he's ready. It will take Cecil a long time to melt that 36.00 earned-run average into something more respectable.

Brett Anderson will make his Cubs debut on Friday against the Brewers and he will be opposed by Jimmy Nelson. The early returns on the Schwarber leadoff experiment: 3-for-10 with a.500 on-base percentage and a season-opening series win in St. Louis.