Jason Hammel has done just about everything on the mound for the Cubs this year.
Sunday night against the Cardinals, he pitched well again and helped himself with the bat. Hammel turned in his sixth quality start in 6 outings and drove in 2 runs with a fourth inning single.
In the end, the Cardinals salvaged the final game of this series with a 5-4 victory. Yadier Molina grounded a 2-run single up the middle in the ninth inning against reliever Hector Rondon, who was making his fourth appearance in four games over five days.
The hit broke a 3-3 tie.
Rondon took the loss, throwing 28 pitches in the ninth, meaning he's probably not available for at least the first game of the Cubs-White Sox series beginning Monday night.
"He had a total of 7 pitches yesterday and 11 the previous, so it was very short," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Rondon's recent workload. "Regardless, that was going to be his last hitter."
Renteria had lefty Wesley Wright in the bullpen before the Molina at-bat, but he stuck with Rondon to face the left-handed hitting Matt Carpenter, who walked. to load the bases.
"In the end, with the strength of Hector, regardless of who he's facing, lefty or righty, it's just a good match for him, regardless."
As far as Hammel goes, he saw his ERA go from 2.08 to 2.43 on a night when he threw 101 pitches.
"He's just been healthy, throwing a lot of strikes," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. "He's a very poised, experienced pitcher. He's a guy with postseason experience. I think health is probably the biggest thing for him. He's been healthy. He's just been attacking the strike zone. He keeps the ball below the knees, which is obviously very important.
"He's just been out there attacking the zone with every pitch he has."
Former Cubs infielder-outfielder Mark DeRosa, a member of the 2007-08 division winners, visited Wrigley Field on Sunday.
DeRosa now works for MLB Network, and he was in town to be a celebrity judge for an upcoming Travel Channel series called American Grilled.
Along with a couple other judges, DeRosa sampled barbecue foods outside of Wrigley Field most of Sunday. The episode will air sometime this summer.
"I wouldn't call myself a grill master by any stretch of the imagination, but I certainly know what good food is," he said.
He said he looks back fondly on his days with Chicago, which ended when he was traded in the winter after the '08 season.
"The best of my career, by far," he said. "I played on eight teams, but I only call myself, if I ever do, I'm a Cubbie. That's what I believe. I want this team to do well. I always pull for them.
"It's hard for me to watch what's going on right now. I'm disappointed, especially when you have a microphone right now, I'd love to be all over them and loving on it, but they're going through their rebuilding process, and I want to buy into it. We'll see."