CHICAGO (AP) — Starlin Castro is continuing to find new ways to make 2013 the worst season in his young career.
Castro was benched shortly after making a mental mistake that allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to score a run and the Cardinals went on to defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 Saturday.
Already up 1-0, the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Matt Carpenter lofted a pop-up to short left field and Castro called off Junior Lake to make the catch. Castro immediately put his head down and hesitated to throw home. Jon Jay took advantage of the mistake, tagging up and scoring from third base.
"I know the outs and everything," Castro said. "I just put my head down, like a mental mistake. I don't want to (make) any excuse for that, it's my mistake and that's why I pay for that, that's why I got taken out of the game. I feel really, really bad that that happened."
After the inning, manager Dale Sveum said something to Castro as he walked down the steps of the dugout. When the Cubs came out to play defense in the sixth, Donnie Murphy switched from third base to shortstop to replace Castro, and Cody Ransom came off the bench to play third.
"Obviously we had a big blunder there," Sveum said. "Lost track of what was going on for whatever reasons and I pulled him out of the game."
Sveum was then asked if Castro gave him an explanation for the mistake.
"No," Sveum responded. "There is no explanation."
After the game, Castro repeatedly apologized to his teammates, coaching staff and to hard-luck loser Travis Wood.
Wood (7-10) retired the first nine St. Louis batters of the game. He gave up four runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, including a two-run home run by Yadier Molina. Molina's ninth homer was his first hit in eight at-bats since he came off the disabled list Thursday.
But the biggest play of the day may have been Jay scoring on what the umpires ruled an infield fly.
"It was Jon doing the right thing, tagging, maybe being able to draw a throw," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think good teams constantly find ways to put pressure on the defense, and Jon is such a heads-up player, he took two hard steps and saw he had an opportunity."
The Cubs were shutout for the fifth time in seven games at Wrigley Field. The Cubs left the bases loaded in the third. Darwin Barney and Wood singled and Lake drew a one-out walk. But Cardinals starter Joe Kelly worked out of the jam when he got Anthony Rizzo to strike out and ended the inning on a Nate Schierholtz ground out.