Published: Sat, April 08, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Not so sticky: Major League Baseball says no violation in Molina stuck ball

Not so sticky: Major League Baseball says no violation in Molina stuck ball

Kyle Schwarber hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning, helping lift the Chicago Cubs past the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 on Thursday afternoon.

Catcher Yadier Molina blocked the ball with his body when it bounced up towards him during Thursday's matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. "That's a dumb question", Molina responded, per Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Schwarber - an emergency catcher who might have to wear a brace on his left leg for the rest of his career - offered this theory: "Catchers like to put pine tar on their leg guard for extra stick to throw the ball to second base, things like that, get feeling". There are no rules against the move.

The Cubs did not ask umpire Quinn Wolcott to check the ball, didn't seem particularly surprised and assumed that Molina was simply using a sticky substance to get a better grip on the ball, given the blustery conditions. It's not hard for me, because I know I don't put anything on the ball, I know Yadi doesn't put anything on his chest protector. While I was skeptical at first, the idea of Schwarber leading off looks like a no-brainer to me after just three games.

For his part, Lackey helped his cause after Zobrist mishandled a throw from shortstop Addison Russell on a potential inning-ending double play that led to three runs in the first.

"I don't know if they've come out with Velcro on the protectors or it's just a fuzzy baseball", Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

All this came after John Lackey had what we might call "the typical Lackey first inning", though some of it wasn't his fault.

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"It's really cool", he said.

Molina's chest protector essentially is flat, so there's no way the ball got wedged in anywhere. After dropping the opener, the Cubs were able to take the last two games of this opening season series. Lynn, who sat out past year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in November 2015, worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and two runs.

The home run gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead.

It was Game 3 of last season when Schwarber collided with center fielder Fowler in left-center, suffering a knee injury so severe it required reconstructive surgery and sidelined him for the rest of the regular season and first two rounds of the playoffs.

"I turned around the horseshoe, too", Schwarber said. Hamilton had two hits in the Reds win over the Cardinals on Friday (CIN 2, STL 0), and he also stole a base.

J.T. Realmuto (three hits) had a two-run homer in the eighth to make it 2-2, pinch hitter Tyler Moore tied the game with an RBI single with two outs in the ninth, and Justin Bour drove in the winning run in extra innings.

The Chicago output escalated from two runs in the second inning, to three in the third and four in the fourth in cold and windy - but sunny - conditions after rain washed out two starts between the teams this week.

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