- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - Six innings of two-hit ball wasn’t good enough for Lance Lynn and the St. Louis Cardinals.

“If you don’t win, it doesn’t matter. That’s how I see it,” Lynn said after Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. “When it’s all said and done, it’s a loss, so I’ve got to pitch better.”

Jake Arrieta allowed three hits over seven innings and Starlin Castro had a go-ahead RBI single in a two-run seventh.

Backed by just two hits from Chicago’s offense, Arrieta (1-0) struck out seven and walked three. He was 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA in a breakout 2014 and improved to 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis.

“He deserves everything that he’s gotten,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I saw him in Baltimore, I’m seeing him right now. He’s definitely matured as a major-league pitcher. This guy’s really good.”

Phil Coke, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon combined for hitless relief. Rondon pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season. The Cardinals won the opener 3-0 on Sunday night’s opener.

Lynn (0-1) struck out nine in six-plus innings, allowing both runs, one earned. Castro’s single chased him in the seventh, and Miguel Montero hit a sacrifice fly off Kevin Siegrist.

Both teams again struggled to score at a cool and damp Wrigley Field.

Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch leading off the seventh and advanced when Lynn’s pickoff throw was wide of Matt Adams at first for an error.

“I was just trying to keep him close to get the double play ball,” Lynn said.

Castro singled, ending the Cubs’ 15-inning scoreless streak at the start of the season, and took second on the throw.

Siegrist relieved, Chris Coghlan sacrificed and Montero’s flyout drove in the second run.

St. Louis drew two walks in the first but the inning ended when Jhonny Peralta took a called third strike. Adams stranded two runners when he struck out ending the third.

“We had him up over 20 pitches in the first inning and guys were working deep counts,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Arrieta. “He found it and fell into a good rhythm.”

Lynn retired his first 10 batters before Jorge Soler tripled with one out in the fourth and Rizzo walked. Castro struck out and Coghlan lined out to center to end the inning.

Adams walked with two outs in the sixth, and Peralta doubled down the left-field line. But Jon Jay grounded the next pitch back to Arrieta.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?

Cubs pitcher Jon Lester said his habit of not throwing over to hold runners at first base is “something that I think is getting blown out of proportion right here.” On Sunday, St. Louis stole three bases against Lester, who hasn’t thrown to first since 2013. “Right now there’s nothing really to talk about at the beginning of the year, so we need to talk about all the negative stuff,” Lester said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: Because the Cardinals did not alter their rotation order after Tuesday’s rainout, RHP Michael Wacha will get one more day before his first start of 2015. Wacha, slowed by shoulder problems last year, will pitch Saturday in Cincinnati.

Cubs: Chicago slightly changed its rotation, scheduling LHP Travis Wood to pitch Friday and RHP Jason Hammel on Saturday against Colorado. Before Tuesday’s rainout, Hammel was slated to pitch Wednesday and Wood was to throw Friday. Maddon said the decision to push back Hammel was made to keep Wood on schedule. “Nobody’s ill, nobody’s hurt,” Maddon said.

UP NEXT

The Cardinals are off Thursday before traveling to face the Reds in Cincinnati. John Lackey is scheduled to face former Cardinals pitcher Jason Marquis in his Cincinnati debut. Marquis didn’t pitch last season. Chicago is also off Thursday and will play the Rockies in Denver, when Travis Wood starts for Chicago.

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