Glaus, who had been hitless against the Cubs in 2008, emphatically ended that streak on Saturday, as well as a recent slump against all opponents. He hit two home runs and drove in five runs, spearheading a Cardinals bombardment of Carlos Zambrano and a 12-3 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field.
St. Louis jacked four homers off Zambrano, the most the right-hander had allowed in a game. The nine runs charged to "Big Z" equaled the most he'd surrendered, and the nine earned runs marked a career worst. A pitcher who had always held the Redbirds down did no such thing on Saturday.
"Unexpected," manager Tony La Russa said of the outburst. "Hard to believe. If we win that game, you would think it would have been 3-2, 2-1. He's pitched as well against us as anybody. It's baseball. You can never figure anything."
Skip Schumaker got it all started when he doubled on the game's first pitch, and Schumaker added a solo homer. But the charge was keyed by Glaus -- just about the unlikeliest man on the roster, given recent history. Before his fourth-inning homer, Glaus had been an almost impossible 0-for-30 against the Cubs this year. He entered the game in a 10-for-63 (.159) slump overall.
"I honestly had no idea until you guys all told me," Glaus told reporters. "I really had no idea. As long as I'm having good at-bats and going up there and not making early-in-the-count bad outs, then I'm OK. It'll turn around. Obviously 0-for-29, it didn't turn around for a while."
But La Russa noted even before the game started that Glaus had hit some balls hard in Friday's series opener. And in Glaus' first at-bat on Saturday, he detonated a monstrous foul ball to left field that left the "Friendly Confines" entirely. In the same at-bat, he just missed an extra-base hit down the right-field line.
Notice had been served.
|"Unexpected. Hard to believe. If we win that game, you would think it would have been 3-2, 2-1. He's pitched as well against us as anybody. It's baseball. You can never figure anything."|
|-- Tony La Russa, on roughing up Carlos Zambrano|
In his next two plate appearances, though, he didn't have to settle for a good at-bat. Solo homers by Schumaker and Albert Pujols gave starter Todd Wellemeyer his second lead of the game, and in the fourth, Glaus helped stretch the advantage. After Felipe Lopez's leadoff single, Glaus pummeled a homer deep into the left-field bleachers, his 20th shot of the year. He's now reached that mark in four straight seasons and eight times in the Majors. Glaus is two homers shy of 300 for his career.
"That's the way he's been," La Russa said. "Even when he's not been swinging well, he's never backed off and given up. He continues to take his swings, and all of a sudden he runs into something and he gets going again."
With the lead standing at 6-2 in the fifth, Glaus chased Zambrano. Following a walk and two singles, Glaus went opposite field for homer No. 21, a three-run blast that made it a 9-2 game.
The second Glaus homer was the only dinger that Zambrano considered a major mistake, and it was the hit that knocked him out of the game. It was a drastic turn for St. Louis, which has found Zambrano to be a true nemesis over the years. Zambrano had gone 11 straight starts without allowing more than two earned runs against St. Louis, dating back to July 19, 2004. The Cards chased Zambrano after 4 1/3 innings, marking the shortest start against the Redbirds in his career.
"I think Zambrano is one of the best pitchers, if not the best pitcher, in the National League," Schumaker said. "Especially here at Wrigley. I wanted to be aggressive and try not to spot him strike one, because he can do so many things to put you away. So I tried to be aggressive and got lucky."
The Cardinals now trail the first-place Cubs by six games in the National League Central, with seven head-to-head meetings remaining.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.