Ramirez, Marmol hurt in loss to Cards
Reliever allows game-winner before exiting with injury
ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs began this season as one of two Major League teams without a player on the disabled list, and had survived unseasonably cold weather without a glitch. On a perfect 80-degree night, they might have lost both Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Marmol to injuries.
Ramirez had to leave Friday's game -- a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals -- with a strained left calf, and Marmol had some pain on the inside of his left knee. Both will be examined Saturday. Marmol scoffed at the notion of going on the disabled list. Ramirez wasn't too positive.
Ramirez felt some discomfort in his left leg after he doubled leading off the second. He stayed in the game, but had to come out in the fifth with a strained left calf.
"We'll see how it feels [Saturday]," Ramirez said. "Right now, it doesn't feel too good."
With the game tied at 3 and one out in the Cardinals' eighth against Marmol (0-1), Albert Pujols lined the ball up the middle, knocking the right-hander's glove off. That's when Marmol felt something in his left knee. Pujols then swiped second, his third steal of the year, and scored on Ryan Ludwick's single to center.
Marmol then threw a strike to Yadier Molina, but came up hopping on his left leg and was pulled.
"I never had it before," said Marmol, who was to see a doctor in St. Louis on Saturday. "They took me out so it wouldn't get worse."
Asked if he thought he might go on the disabled list, Marmol shook his head.
"No -- I don't think so," he said.
The Cubs are shorthanded already because Milton Bradley is limited with a strained right groin. Lou Piniella had juggled the Cubs' lineup in an attempt to get the offense going and compensate for the loss of Bradley, who can pinch-hit, but can't run. They may have to do more tweaking.
"We've got no bench," Piniella said. "We've got an extra catcher [in Koyie Hill] and [Micah] Hoffpauir and [Joey] Gathright. We're going to have to get somebody in here."
Pujols' steal in the eighth was his third in as many games, and Cubs catcher Geovany Soto felt responsible.
"From the bench, they told me he might run," Soto said. "It was my responsibility to go out there and tell Marmol, 'Hey, you have to pay attention to this guy.' I didn't do my job out there. He got a real good jump. His run is important right there. It was my job to say, 'Hey, watch the runner.' I didn't do it."
"We go over these things before the ballgame," Piniella said. "The problem is the pitcher gets focused on the hitter and getting an out. At times, they need to be reminded. Pujols just gets a bigger lead and everybody in the ballpark knew he was going to run. We told the catcher, but he has to go out there and just tell the pitcher, 'Look, take an extra look.'
"It was a game of missed opportunities," Piniella said, "but more important than that, it was a game where we lost two big components."
The Cubs may have to make a roster move on Saturday. It would be tough to try to compete with 22 players.
"We'll just keep picking each other up and hopefully it's something where they don't miss any days, or if they do, it's just a little bit of time," Chicago starter Ryan Dempster said. "We've got to go out and try to win [Saturday's] game so we have a chance to win the series."
The Cardinals had taken a 3-0 lead in the fifth against Dempster, when Joe Thurston hit a two-run double and scored one batter later on Skip Schumaker's single. Dempster did not get a decision, striking out six over six innings.
"It was an alright job, it just wasn't good enough," Dempster said.
Derrek Lee, dropped to fifth in the order, singled to lead off the seventh and scored on Mike Fontenot's double against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. Soto walked and Reed Johnson blooped a single to center to load the bases. Hoffpauir came in to pinch-hit and lofted the ball to left, and Schumaker, who had just switched to the outfield, couldn't close his glove on it for an error, allowing Fontenot to score. Soto then tallied when Ryan Theriot hit into a double play to tie the game at 3.
"We had opportunities with this lineup," Piniella said. "We just didn't get them in. From the fifth inning on, I think we had opportunities every inning. The lineup had nothing to do with losing the ballgame, I can tell you that."
"We've got to do what we've got to do," Soto said. "We can't worry about who's not on the field. We have to go out there with who we've got and hopefully they're all right and can come back soon."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.