ST. LOUIS (AP) — The game was so far gone, the St. Louis Cardinals called on Daniel Descalso to get the final out.
In a silent clubhouse after a 17-5 blowout loss to the Chicago Cubs Monday night, the infielder's first career pitching appearance was no laughing matter.
"I really don't want to talk about this," said the 27-year-old Descalso, who said he last pitched in high school. "They asked me to go get an out, throw strikes."
Manager Mike Matheny called the game a low-water mark for the National League champions. The Cardinals are 19-20, mostly struggling offensively.
"This is the worst we've seen, so I don't think it's fair to compare what happened today with what's happened all season," Matheny said. "Today was a bad game. It's not how we've been playing."
Junior Lake homered, doubled twice and drove in six runs for the Cubs, who got to Tyler Lyons early and never let up. They had totaled just four runs while getting swept in a three-game series at Atlanta over the weekend, and had lost seven of eight overall.
"Maybe some of the balls got up, I'm not really sure and haven't looked at it too much," Lyons said. "It's just one of those things, sometimes you just get hit, I guess."
Chicago has the worst record in the league at 13-24, but is 4-3 against the defending NL champions.
The Cubs hit for the cycle in the first five batters — Emilio Bonifacio doubled, Anthony Rizzo singled, Starlin Castro tripled and Mike Olt's two-run homer capped a four-run first inning.
Bonifacio had four of Chicago's 20 hits and scored a career-best five times, once on a play overturned by video review. Rizzo and Castro each drove in three as the Cubs set season highs for runs and hits.
Cardinals reliever Randy Choate gave up six runs on seven hits in the ninth and left with two outs. Descalso retired the only batter he faced, getting Olt on a fly ball.