Rapid Reaction: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs did just enough on Monday, rallying in the ninth inning to win the opener of a three-game series against the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2.

How it happened: The former Cardinal Joe Mather came through in the clutch with a two-run single. They key to the ninth-inning rally was a long at-bat from Bryan LaHair, who eventually coaxed a walk. Geovany Soto followed with one of his own. Mather fell behind 0-2 before getting back into the count and delivering the game-winner.

What it means: Despite Monday’s win, manager Dale Sveum’s right-handed lineup against left-handers has failed to gain any traction in the early going. The Cubs were batting .240 as a team against left-handed pitching and that was before they had just six hits against Jaime Garcia. The left-handed hitting LaHair has been a standout on offense this season, but he is 0-for-6 against left-handers with five strikeouts.

Outside the box: Since he was recalled over the weekend Tony Campana has put together three hits in five at-bats, getting one in the eighth inning Monday after entering late in the game on a double switch. That’s the same amount of hits as center fielder Marlon Byrd had in 43 at-bats before he was dealt to the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.

Off beat: Matt Garza showed that he can handle the bat after all. He didn’t show much in this spring’s bunt tournament but did manage to lay down a sacrifice in the third inning. Then in the fifth inning he slapped a single to right field. Neither successful trip to the plate ended with the Cubs scoring runs that inning, though.

Up next: Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 5.71 ERA) will get the start Tuesday in the middle game of the three-game series against the Cardinals. St. Louis will counter with right-hander Adam Wainwright (0-3, 9.88) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.