Cubs manager Dusty Baker sneered when Cincinnati players did "the Bounce" after a walk-off victory in June, so watching the St. Louis version on Thursday night probably qualified as cruel and unusual punishment.
But he had little choice after Kerry Robinson's ninth-inning home run off Mike Remlinger sent St. Louis to a 3-2 victory at Busch Stadium, inspiring the Cardinals to do a celebration at home plate.
"When you lose a game like that, sometimes you figure you weren't supposed to win," Baker said.
Robinson's first home run this year, and only the third in 549 career at-bats, dealt the Cubs their second tough loss in two nights, leaving them 1½ games behind the Cardinals and Houston in the National League Central race.
"It's frustrating to have a guy who hasn't hit a home run all year beat you," Remlinger said. "It's unacceptable."
The Cubs are 3-13 at Busch Stadium in the last two years and 12-42 since 1996. They finished this trip with a 4-5 record and headed home for a weekend series against Milwaukee, which has won 10 straight games.
"They're due then," Baker said.
Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano's costly error in the sixth and a fateful decision to send Doug Glanville home from third on a scorching liner to center fielder Jim Edmonds in the eighth were instrumental in the loss.
With the Cubs leading 2-0 on a Sammy Sosa homer and a Ramon Martinez sacrifice fly, the Cardinals had Edgar Renteria on first and two outs in the sixth with slow-footed pitcher Matt Morris at the plate.
Morris hit a topper to Zambrano's right that should have ended the inning, but Zambrano couldn't get a grip on the ball and short-armed his throw, allowing Morris to reach and Renteria to scamper to third.
Robinson doubled over third base to make it 2-1 and Scott Rolen tied it in the seventh with a homer to right.
An unfortunate bounce cost the Cubs an opportunity to take the lead in the eighth when Kenny Lofton smoked a hit to right-center field that would have scored Glanville easily from first. But the ball bounced into the bleachers for a ground-rule double, sending Glanville back to third.
Martinez followed with another scorching liner to center off reliever Mike DeJean, but Edmonds was playing shallow and was able to spear the ball and throw Glanville out by about 10 feet.
Baker said there was no question that Wendell Kim should have sent Glanville with two outs and Glanville concurred.
Edmonds "has a great arm and tremendous accuracy," Glanville said. "There's no question the odds are he's going to make a good play, but he had a tough play to make. He was coming in, almost overran it a little. You have to push the envelope. These are games where one run makes a difference. You can't say 'if '"
The Cubs bullpen suffered its second straight loss and must regroup quickly if the club wants to stay in the race.
"We expect to do our job and we're not doing it right now," Remlinger said. "And that's going to have to change, especially from my side.
"Today I didn't do my job. That's not good enough. Coming into the end of the season, if you don't do your job, you don't go to the playoffs. That's what we're all here for."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times