Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 5, Cubs 2

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals waited out a rain delay of nearly two hours before finally playing Monday night, but the Chicago bats took most of the rest of the night off as well in a 5-2 loss.

How it happened: The Cubs managed only two hits in the first five innings against Cardinals’ starter Shelby Miller -- a single by Luis Valbuena with one out in the third and a leadoff single by Welington Castillo in the fifth, both of whom were stranded at first base. Miller left the game after that inning because of cramping in his right leg.

The Cubs didn’t get another hit until the eighth, when Starlin Castro and Nate Schierholtz both singled off reliever Trevor Rosenthal, with Schierholtz’s hit driving in Valbuena, who had walked, with Chicago’s first run of the night.

The Cardinals scored twice against starter Travis Wood in the span of four batters in the fourth. Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday singled, and one out later, Yadier Molina lined a two-run double to the wall in right center. They added two more runs in the seventh, the first coming on a throwing error by first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the plate, a play which got manager Dale Sveum ejected for arguing the call, and their final run in the eighth.

Darwin Barney hit his third homer of the season with two outs in the top of the ninth.

What it means: The loss dropped the Cubs’ record to 28-40 and back into a tie with the idle Milwaukee Brewers for last place in the NL Central. It is the 38th day this season the Cubs have been last or tied for last, compared to 35 days when they have been out of last place. The loss also dropped their record against division opponents to 8-22, even though they have only played three games (1-2) against the division-leading Cardinals.

Outside the box: Despite the fact Wood had a 3-2 career record against the Cardinals in seven starts, he had not exactly fooled many of their hitters. Of the top seven hitters in the St. Louis starting lineup, the only one with a career batting average under .300 against Wood coming into the game was Molina, at .294, and he happened to come into the game as the NL’s leading hitter, with a .352 average.

Up next: The Cubs and Cardinals will meet in the second game of the four-game series on Tuesday night. Jeff Samardzija (3-7, 3.46 ERA) will pitch against Adam Wainwright (10-3, 2.18 ERA) in the 7:05 p.m. game.