Game Twenty-Six – Cubs 6, Cardinals 5
WP – Jon Lester (2-2) LP – Lance Lynn (1-3) Save – Hector Rondon (6)
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI) drove in three runs with a solo homer in the third and a two-run double in the fifth. Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored) singled in the Cubs first run, Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in another and Jorge Soler (2-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Bryant with a huge insurance run in the eighth inning. The Cubs’ young offense continued its impressive series against Cardinals pitching.
The Cubs built a two run lead in the first inning on run scoring hits from Bryant and Castro. Rizzo homered to get the momentum back in the third inning and made it a 3-1 game. Rizzo delivered a two-run double in the fifth that gave Jon Lester a 5-2 lead and some much-needed breathing room.
Jon Lester put together his third straight quality start on a night the Cubs defense kept giving the Cardinals extra opportunities. The Cubs were charged with only two errors but the Cardinals capitalized on several other miscues that kept them in the game. Lester was on the hill during the sixth inning in which the Cardinals scored two unearned runs after a two-out error by Addison Russell kept the inning going.
Jon Lester turned the game over to the bullpen after seven innings. Lester was charged with four runs, one earned, on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Lester served up a mammoth home run to Jhonny Peralta and threw 106 pitches, 73 for strikes.
Pedro Strop gave up a run in the eighth as he continued to struggle. Strop hit a batter, walked one and gave up a pinch-hit RBI single to Kolten Wong before pinch hitter Jon Jay rolled into a 6-3 double play to end the inning with tying run on second base.
Hector Rondon did an excellent job in the ninth of closing out the game. Rondon gave up a leadoff single to Peter Bourjos. After a hit and run groundout put the tying run on third base with one out, Rondon pitched around Matt Holliday before striking out Mark Reynolds and inducing a grounder to short off the bat of Jhonny Peralta to Starlin Castro to end the game.
Joe Maddon was ejected from the game in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes. Maddon was thrown out for the second time this season. Maddon was very animated and appeared to question homeplate umpire, D.J. Reyburn’s strike zone. Reyburn was not calling the same strike zone according to Maddon, who appeared to say, “I’ll tell you what, you’ve been f***ing my young guys all night long.”
The Cubs snapped their four-game losing streak with a very good win in St. Louis. With Wednesday night’s victory, the Cubs improved to 14-12 on the season.
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a bloop single to left. Chris Coghlan worked a full count, but Lance Lynn caught Fowler leaning and picked him off first base. Joe Maddon challenged the call and replays showed Fowler got back but the call stood and Fowler was the first out of the inning. Chris Coghlan walked.
Mark Reynolds took a hit away from Rizzo with a diving stop to knock the ball down and he just beat Rizzo to the bag. Coghlan advanced to second on the play and scored when Kris Bryant singled to center. Jorge Soler singled to right center and put runners on the corners with two down for Castro.
Starlin Castro chopped a 1-1 pitch down the third baseline. Matt Carpenter tried to make a backhand stop, but the ball hit off his glove and rolled into foul ground. Bryant scored, 2-0 Cubs. David Ross was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
Jon Lester gave up a leadoff single to Peter Bourjos. Bourjos took off on a 2-1 pitch to Carpenter. David Ross made a strong, but high throw to second. Castro made an excellent catch and swipe tag and Bourjos was called out. Mike Matheny challenged the call but it stood. Lester walked Carpenter. Matt Holliday rolled into a 5-3 fielder’s choice. With Carpenter at second, Mark Reynolds flied out to left (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Lester threw 18 pitches, 10 for strikes, in the first.
After one complete, the Cubs led 2-0.
The Cubs went down in order quickly in the second inning. Lance Lynn threw 36 pitches, 24 for strikes, in the first two innings.
The Cardinals took advantage of the Cubs first error of the night in the second inning. Lester retired Peralta on a grounder to third for the first out. Heyward pulled a 0-1 pitch to Rizzo that he fielded cleanly and underhanded to Lester covering first. Lester dropped the ball. Yadier Molina doubled to right center. Soler took a bad route and Heyward scored, 2-1 Cubs. Pete Kozma flied out to left center and Lester caught Lynn looking to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 2-1 lead after two innings.
Anthony Rizzo launched a 424-foot homer to right in the third inning that gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. And Jon Lester worked around a two-out walk to Holliday in the third. Lester threw 48 pitches, 31 for strikes, in the first three innings.
The Cubs could not tack on in the fourth and the Cardinals cut into the Cubs 3-1 lead in the fourth.
Jhonny Peralta led off the fourth and launched a 0-1 pitch from Lester to deep left. Peralta’s towering blast traveled a reported 447 feet. Lester refocused after not watching Peralta jack one out and retired Heyward (swinging strikeout), Molina (grounder to third) and Kozma (flyout to deep center) to end the inning.
Jon Lester needed 61 pitches, 40 for strikes, to complete four innings. And after four, the Cubs led 3-2.
Addison Russell hit a ground rule double to right center and his team-leading sixth double extended his hitting streak to nine games. Fowler grounded out to first. Fowler’s productive out advanced Russell to third with one out. Coghlan put together an eight-pitch at bat that ended with a walk.
Anthony Rizzo pulled a 1-2 pitch into the right field corner. Russell and Coghlan scored, 5-2 Cubs. Bryant struck out swinging and Soler struck out looking to end the inning.
Jon Lester pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning (73 pitches, 48 for strikes in five innings). The Cubs had a 5-2 lead after five complete.
Joe Maddon was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the sixth. And the Cubs could not cash in a double by David Ross, so the game went to the troublesome sixth inning with the Cubs leading by three runs, 5-2.
Jon Lester made quick work of Holliday (strikeout looking) and Reynolds (grounder to third) that provided what will become a very memorable highlight.
Lester appeared to have his second straight 1-2-3 inning, but a smash off the bat of Jhonny Peralta ate up Addison Russell. The ball flew past Russell and into right center. Jason Heyward followed with a grounder up the middle that Lester knocked down. But by the time he got to the ball, he had no play at first base. And the Cardinals had runners on first and second with two down.
Yadier Molina checked his swing on a 1-2 pitch low in the zone and punched a single into center. Peralta scored, 5-3 Cubs. Pete Kozma followed with a single to center that plated Heyward and all of the sudden it was a 5-4 ballgame.
With runners on second and third with two down, Mike Matheny sent up Matt Adams to hit for Lance Lynn … and Lester caught him looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning. Lester needed 93 pitches, 64 for strikes, to complete six innings.
The Cubs were clinging to a 5-4 lead after six innings.
The Cubs did nothing against Randy Choate in the seventh. And Lester caught Mark Reynolds looking with Matt Holliday at second base to end the seventh.
And after seven innings, the Cubs had a one-run lead at 5-4.
Kris Bryant led off the eighth with a double to right central off Matt Belisle. Jorge Soler singled to center and Bryant scored a much-needed insurance run. With the Cubs up 6-4, Soler on first and no outs, Castro rolled into a 6-4-3 double play and Ross flied out to right to end the inning.
The game went to the bottom of the eighth with the Cubs up by two runs, 6-4.
Pedro Strop replaced Lester and retired Peralta on a grounder to Castro for the first out. Strop hit Heyward and issued a four-pitch walk to Yadier Molina. With the tying runs on base and one out, Kolten Wong hit for Pete Kozma and singled to left (1-1 pitch), Heyward scored … 6-5 Cubs. With runners on first and second, Jon Jay grounded a 1-2 pitch back up the middle that Castro fielded, stepped on second and fired to first to complete the inning ending double play.
The Cubs could not add to the lead off Carlos Villanueva in the ninth despite a pinch-hit walk from Miguel Montero to start the inning … and the game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs up by one.
Hector Rondon took the hill and jumped ahead of Peter Bourjos 1-2. The Cardinals backup outfielder then singled to left. Matheny started Bourjos on a 2-2 pitch to Carpenter. Rizzo made an excellent sliding stop toward the hole and underhanded the ball to Rondon for the out. But Bourjos did not break stride and slide into third with the tying run … and only one out. Dave Martinez brought the infield in.
Hector Rondon pitched around Holliday (3-0 count) before intentionally walking him.
With runners on the corners and one down, Hector Rondon struck out Mark Reynolds swinging … and Jhonny Peralta rolled a 1-0 pitch toward short, Castro fielded the ball, bobbled it and recovered in time to throw to second just ahead of the sliding Matt Holliday to end the game.
It’s always a good day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.
Jake Arrieta and John Lackey square off in the finale of the four game series between the Cubs and Cardinals on Thursday afternoon (12:45pm CDT).