MLB News: Chicago Cubs Starts Title Defense With Walk-Off Loss to Rivals St. Louis Cardinals

Sign Up for Sports World News’ Newsletter and never miss out on our most popular stories.

Starter Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning during the 2017 MLB Opening Day game at Busch Stadium on April 2, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo : Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

For the first time in more than 100 years, the Chicago Cubs enter Opening Day as the defending World Series champions. However, the Cubs were not able to win on Sunday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat them 4-3 via walk-off.

Jon Lester and Carlos Martinez had a nice duel going on until the sixth inning. Lester allowed the only run of the first seven innings in the second. It was outfielder Randal Grichuk that stole the show by going two-for-four with three RBIs, per

Grichuk hit a two-run home run off of Pedro Strop in the eighth inning to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. Wilson Contreras followed it up with a game-tying three-run homer in the top of the ninth against Seung-hwan Oh. However, Grichuk came back in the ninth to deliver a walk-off RBI single off of Mike Montgomery, who got the final out of last year’s World Series.

In an interview after the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon had a lot of praise for Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, who was outstanding for seven innings. The World Series-winning manager noted that it was still a good night for the Cubs despite the loss.

“He was outstanding. He had good stuff at the very beginning. He has as good of a right-handed arm as any in the league,” Maddon told ESPN.

“Save one pitch to Grichuk, it was a really good night,” he added.

Martinez struck out ten batters in 7.1 innings with just six hits, no walks and no runs. He went toe-to-toe with Cubs starter Jon Lester, who pitched five innings with just one earned run, two walks and seven strikeouts.

The dynamic duo of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo was ineffective as they went 1-for-8 while Kyle Schwarber got on base three times as the leadoff hitter. The Cubs’ former leadoff man Dexter Fowler, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Cardinals this offseason, was 1-for-4 in his debut.

The Cubs and Cardinals continue their opening week series on Tuesday, April 2 at Busch Stadium. Jake Arrieta is expected to start for the defending champs and he will likely go up against veteran starter Adam Wainwright.