- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Mike Baxter insists that 99 times out of 100, he would make the play that cost the Chicago Cubs.

Baxter’s wide throw to the plate with the bases loaded allowed Peter Bourjos to score from third with the winning run in the 10th inning of the Cubs’ 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

“It’s something I’m very capable of doing,” Baxter said.

Chicago manager Joe Maddon brought Baxter in from right field and positioned him in the second base spot in order to have five infielders with no one out. Jhonny Peralta slapped a routine grounder to second base that Baxter, who had played first base in the minors and during spring training, fielded cleanly. But his throw to the plate sailed way up the third-base line and out of the reach of catcher David Ross.

“In that situation, it seems a little outside of the box,” Baxter said of the defensive shift. “But I’m capable of doing it. I threw it away. I didn’t make the play. It’s pretty frustrating.”

Maddon said he would make the same move again.

“(Baxter) does play the infield, I felt comfortable,” Maddon said. “It’s just a bad throw, that’s all.”

It was Baxter’s first error of the season.

“The play needs to be made,” Baxter said. “It’s (my) job to finish the play and I didn’t.”

St. Louis rookie infielder Greg Garcia hit the first homer of his career - a pinch-hit blast in the eighth inning that tied the game and set the stage for the 10th-inning rally.

The Cardinals won their fourth win in a row and seventh straight at home. They are a major-league best 27-7 at home.

Meanwhile, Chicago lost its third in a row after a four-game winning streak.

Bourjos began the 10th inning with a double off reliever Justin Grimm (1-2). Kolten Wong followed with a single off the second base bag and Matt Carpenter was walked to load the bases.

Seth Maness (2-0) picked up the win in relief.

Garcia set up the Cardinals’ sixth extra-inning win in nine tries with his homer off Pedro Strop leading off the eighth that tied it at 2. It was the Cardinals’ first pinch-hit homer of the season. Garcia is 3 for 4 as a pinch-hitter since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on June 19.

“I had a feeling he was going to throw me a fastball,” Garcia said. “I put a good swing on it. It was surreal. I can’t even put it into words.”

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was confident that Garcia would at least get on base.

“I figured he’d go up there and put a pretty good rip into it,” Matheny said. “I didn’t expect to see the ball leave (the park). What a great surprise. He’s done a nice job whenever we do get him an opportunity.”

Kris Bryant gave Chicago a 2-1 lead by driving in Dexter Fowler with a sacrifice fly to center in the seventh off starter John Lackey, who gave up two runs on eight hits in seven innings. Fowler started the inning with a double.

“It was a tough one, they put some good at-bats on me,” Lackey said. “A lot of deep counts and I had to throw a lot of pitches. But for the most part, I was able to do some good damage control.”

Chicago starter Jake Arrieta allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings.

“I got into a groove and was able to hold them off,” Arrieta said. “But they did what they do, they fought back. This was a tough one. We were right there.”

Randal Grichuk gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring triple in the second.

Chicago, which had scored just three runs over its previous three games, tied the game in the fourth on a RBI single by Baxter, who had three hits and helped Arrieta with a leap into the stands to snare a fly ball by Peralta leading off the sixth.

The Cardinals are 27-18 against the Cubs over the last two-plus seasons.

“This one stings,” Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “You can’t give away a lead there.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Bryant returned to the starting lineup after being taken out of Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers with flu-like symptoms after the second inning. Fowler also returned after missing three games with a sore ankle suffered running the bases on Monday.

UP NEXT: Chicago RHP Donn Roach will make his first start of the season against RHP Michael Wacha (9-3, 2.85). Roach is replacing Tsuyoshi Wada, who suffered shoulder tightness in his previous start Monday. Roach was 7-1 with a 2.29 ERA for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. Wacha began the season 7-0.

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