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CHC@STL: Castro singles home the Cubs' first run

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals got their rings, some sunshine and a win on Saturday, while Chris Volstad's wait and Starlin Castro's learning curve continued.

Yadier Molina hit a two-run single and scored on Daniel Descalso's triple in a four-run fourth off Volstad, and Jon Jay added a solo homer to lift the Cardinals to a 5-1 victory over the Cubs.

On Friday, the Cardinals raised a banner to commemorate winning the 2011 World Series, and on Saturday, the players and staff, including Cubs first-base coach Dave McKay, received their championship rings, which are loaded with 103 diamonds, red rubies and made of 14 karat yellow and white gold. Then, the tarp was put on the field for a one-hour, 59-minute rain delay.

"I'm from Florida, so I'm used to that," Volstad said. "I felt like I was the rain man down there [with the Marlins]."

For Volstad (0-1), the wait has been even longer since he could celebrate. The right-hander now has gone 13 starts since his last win July 10, 2011. He's the only pitcher to make at least 10 starts since last year's All-Star break and not get a "W." He hasn't gotten much run support in that stretch, and he didn't on Saturday.

"It all started with an error," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "[Volstad] was pitching pretty good. I don't know if [the error] got him off kilter a little bit. Other than that, he did OK. He had his breaking ball working and throwing strikes. It was actually a pretty productive day."

The error was a throwing mistake by Castro, one of two for the day. In the Cardinals' fourth, Matt Holliday was safe as Castro's throw pulled first baseman Bryan LaHair off the bag. One out later, Matt Carpenter doubled off the right-field wall and Molina singled, driving in both runners. Molina easily stole second -- it was a "brain fart," Volstad said -- and then scored on Descalso's triple for a 3-0 lead. Tyler Greene added an RBI single.

"It's unfortunate," Sveum said. "[Castro] has been playing good. The guy was actually out on the first one if [LaHair] had stayed on the bag."

Volstad blamed himself. He's learning at the big league level, too.

"One inning, a string of four hitters," he said. "I kind of stopped executing, pitches were all over the place. I guess at that point I need to slow it down and take a deep breath and go back to what I was doing the rest of the game, which is keep the ball down and executing the pitch."

Castro led the National League last season with 29 errors, and he now has four in nine games. That's not a good pace.

"Those kind of things happen in the game," Castro said. "Sometimes I think too much. The next one, I tried to be like perfect, and when you think a lot about being perfect, that's when the mistakes come."

Castro made another throwing error in the St. Louis fifth. He tried to make up for it in the sixth with an RBI single, which was the Cubs' only offense for the day.

"It's very frustrating because I've been working hard a lot, in the Dominican and here," Castro said. "Those kind of things aren't supposed to happen. It's happening because it's the game, you know, and everybody makes an error. It happens one time, it's [OK]. Two times, that can't happen again."

A former shortstop himself, Sveum knows better than most about the growing pains a young player goes through.

"It's not a major thing, but those are things, unfortunately, that we're probably going to see a little of," Sveum said.

Volstad didn't blame the young shortstop, who is off to a hot start offensively and leads the NL in stolen bases.

"He's doing a great job," Volstad said of Castro. "There's no worries there. He's got a powerful arm, and that's going to happen. You're going to make bad pitches. That's the way it is."

The Cubs weren't able to deliver timely hits as they had in their two previous games, and St. Louis manager Mike Matheny timed his lefty relievers perfectly to get Ian Stewart and LaHair out in the sixth and strand two, and in the eighth to get Stewart and leave two more baserunners.

"Those are tough situations that could change the course of the game," Matheny said. "I thought both [J.C. Romero and Marc Rzepczynski] made very good pitches."

Prior to the game, the Cubs got a glimpse of what a championship ring looks like. Sveum made sure all the players were in the dugout for the ceremony.

"It's important to show your respect for the world champions," Sveum said. "For everybody to see that ring who's never got one, it's a pretty special day, and it's a pretty awesome ring to look at.

"I hope when we win it, another team is watching us get our rings," he said. "I think that's the way things should be done."

If the Cubs are going to do that, they need Castro to contribute on offense and defense. The 22-year-old shortstop knows that.

"That's what I want to be one day on this team, win a World Series and that kind of stuff," Castro said. "That makes me more aggressive and more [eager] to work harder. I think one day, we'll have a championship and a World Series."

What did he think of the Cardinals' ring?

"It's good," Castro said. "We need one with the Cubs, that'll be a good one." Comments