Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven – Cubs 8, Cardinals 5
WP – Jason Hammel (8-6) LP – Michael Wacha (15-5) Save – Hector Rondon (27)
Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in three runs. Starlin Castro had a four RBI night that included a three-run homer in the second inning. Jason Hammel took a shutout into the sixth inning before the Cubs let the Cardinals back in the game. After the Cardinals scored five runs in the seventh, Fernando Rodney stopped the bleeding in the eighth. And Hector Rondon closed it out in the ninth as the Cubs hung on and beat the Cardinals on Tuesday night.
For the second game in a row, the Cubs jumped on a Cardinals’ starting pitcher. The Cubs scored six runs in the first two innings and Michael Wacha was out of the game by the fifth inning.
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a home run, a walk and three RBI) and Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, a walk, four RBI and three runs scored) drove in seven of the Cubs eight runs on the night. And it was a pair of two-out homers that gave the Cubs the early lead.
Starlin Castro walked with one out in the first. After Chris Coghlan (0-for-3 with a walk) popped out to left, Anthony Rizzo hit a rocket over the center field wall and gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with the 100th homer of his career, No. 99 with the Cubs.
Jason Hammel (1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored) helped his own cause with a single to center in the second that plated Javier Baez (2-for-4 with two doubles and a runs scored). An Austin Jackson (2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored) single put two runners on with two outs in the second. Starlin Castro launched Michael Wacha’s first pitch out to left and gave the Cubs a 6-0 lead.
The Cubs did not quit and finally got to Carlos Villanueva in the seventh. Austin Jackson doubled and scored on a double from Starlin Castro. Anthony Rizzo singled in Castro for the Cubs’ eighth run.
Jason Hammel was horrible in the first inning but made an excellent pitch to Yadier Molina that turned into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play and got him out of the jam. Hammel settled in after the second inning and took a shutout into the seventh. Hammel walked two of the three batters he faced in the seventh, and the third, Randal Grichuk smacked a pinch-hit two-run homer that gave the Cardinals life.
The Cubs gave the Cardinals four free baserunners in the seventh (three walks and a HBP) and the Cardinals cashed in the opportunities. The Cardinals scored five runs in the seventh off Jason Hammel, Justin Grimm and Pedro Strop.
Jason Hammel was charged with three runs on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Hammel made 101 pitches, 62 for strikes, in six-plus innings.
Fernando Rodney righted the ship with an impressive eighth inning. Rodney struck out two of the three batters he faced.
Hector Rondon picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.
The Cubs defense played a big role in Tuesday’s victory. With the pitching staff giving out free baserunners, if the defense had not stepped up the result might have been different.
The Cubs turned two double plays. Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo and Chris Coghlan made excellent plays in the field while Javier Baez made the highlight reels at third base when he took hits away from Greg Garcia in the fifth, Jason Heyward in the sixth and Matt Carpenter in the seventh.
With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to a season-high 23 games over .500 with a 80-57 record on the season.
Austin Jackson started the game by grounding out to second base. Starlin Castro worked a walk. Chris Coghlan hit a routine fly to left for the second out.
Anthony Rizzo launched a 3-2 pitch from Michael Wacha to deep center. The ball got out of Busch Stadiumin a hurry and the 100th homer of Rizzo’s career gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Kris Bryant grounded out to third to end the inning. The Cubs made Wacha work, 22 pitches (13 for strikes) for the Cardinals’ right-hander in the opening frame.
After Jason Hammel caught Matt Carpenter looking at a 0-2 pitch for the first out, he lost the strike zone. Hammel issued back-to-back walks to Stephen Piscotty and Jason Heyward. Hammel missed with his first two offerings to Molina. Hammel’s next pitch to Yadier Molina was rolled toward short. Addison Russell started the 6-4-3 inning ending double play. Hammel made 15 pitches in the first, five were in the strike zone.
The Cubs had a 2-0 lead after one complete.
Miguel Montero went down swinging to start the second. Javier Baez put together an excellent at bat. Baez went from 1-2 to 3-2 before ripping a double into left. Jason Hammel fell behind Wacha 1-2. Hammel fouled off the next two pitches. Hammel drove Wacha’s sixth pitch back up the middle and into center. Baez scored easily and without a throw, 3-0 Cubs. Addison Russell flied out to center. Austin Jackson followed with a single to right (1-2 pitch).
Starlin Castro crushed the first pitch from Wacha. Castro hit a three-run homer over the wall in left center and the Cubs took a 6-0 lead.
Chris Coghlan walked after Castro’s three-run shot. And Anthony Rizzo flied out to Heyward two steps from the wall in right to end the inning. Rizzo just missed his second longball of the game on the 53rd pitch of the night from Michael Wacha.
Jason Hammel worked around a two out double by Greg Garcia in the second inning. Hammel struck out Jon Jay swinging for the third out. Hammel needed 41 pitches, 23 for strikes, to complete two innings.
The Cubs led 6-0 after two innings.
Jason Hammel settled down with the big lead and did his job. Hammel threw strikes while the Cubs knocked Michael Wacha out of the game after four innings.
The Cubs defense made several plays behind Hammel and Javier Baez provided two excellent plays to take hits away from Greg Garcia and Jason Heyward. Hammel made 86 pitches, 55 for strikes, in six innings.
The game went to the seventh with the Cubs still leading 6-0.
Austin Jackson started the seventh with a double down the right field line off Carlos Villanueva. Starlin Castro followed with a double to left center (0-1 pitch). Jackson scored, 7-0 Cubs. Chris Coghlan struck out swinging.
Anthony Rizzo beat the shift and smoked a 1-1 pitch to the right side of second base and into center. Castro scored, 8-0 Cubs. Kris Bryant dribbled a 2-2 pitch to the first base side of the mound. Bryant reached as Villanueva slipped. With runners on the corners, Montero and Baez struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jason Hammel stayed in for the seventh with the Cubs up 8-0. Hammel walked Yadier Molina to start the inning. Tony Cruz ran for Molina. Randal Grichuk hit for Villanueva and launched a home run to left. Grichuk’s two-run homer made it an 8-2 game. Hammel walked Mark Reynolds and Maddon popped out of the dugout.
Justin Grimm replaced Hammel and struck out Garcia. Grimm hit Jon Jay and put runners on first and second with one out. Tommy Pham blooped a single into right and loaded the bases for Matt Carpenter. Maddon went back to his pen for Clayton Richard. Carpenter hit a soft liner toward third. Baez made a leaping catch before the blooper got over his head. Maddon playing match ups made the slow walk again and replaced Richard with Pedro Strop.
Stephen Piscotty ripped a 1-2 pitch into center. Reynolds and Jay scored, 8-4 Cubs. Strop walked Heyward to load the bases. Tony Cruz singled to left. Pham scored and the Cubs lead was down to 8-5. With the bags juiced, Strop struck out Randal Grichuk to finally end the inning.
The Cubs led 8-5 after seven innings.
Steve Cishek pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. And Fernando Rodney retired all three batters he faced with two strikeouts.
The game went to the ninth with the Cubs leading 8-5.
Kevin Siegrist was called on for the ninth. Starlin Castro flied out to wall in right for the first out. Chris Denorfia batted for Coghlan and tripled off the wall in right center. The Cardinals wanted nothing to do with Anthony Rizzo and intentionally walked him. Kris Bryant struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) with runners on the corners. Dexter Fowler hit for Montero and rolled out to second for the third out.
Hector Rondon caught Tommy Pham looking at a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Matt Carpenter doubled to right on a 1-2 pitch. Rondon caught Stephen Piscotty looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Jason Heyward grounded out to Rizzo, who flipped to Rondon covering first to end the game.
Jon Lester takes on Carlos Martinez in the series finale with the Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon (12:45pm CDT).