Photo is credited to Getty Images.
Rivals clashed at Wrigley Field this week, as the Cardinals and Cubs took on each other in a three-game series, the teams’ third meeting of the season. The Cubs had taken four of six meetings entering this series, but it was the Cardinals who came out on top of this one, sweeping a three-game series at Wrigley Field for the first time since May of 1988 to go 5-4 in the season series.
Prior to the game, the Cubs placed outfielder Dexter Fowler on the 15-day disabled list with a strain of his right hamstring. Rookie Albert Almora is poised to get a chunk of the center-field duties in Fowler’s absence, sharing them with Matt Szczur.
Game One: Cardinals 3, Cubs 2 — WP: Jaime Garcia (5-6) LP: John Lackey (7-3) SV: Trevor Rosenthal (13)
Coming off a five-game losing streak that featured three one-run losses, the Cardinals were able to complete a 3-2 victory over the Cubs in the first game of a three-game set at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Monday.
It took John Lackey nearly 30 pitches to escape the top of the first inning, but he did not surrender a run until the second inning. Brandon Moss took Lackey deep with one out in the second, and Aledmys Diaz plated a run later in the frame on a single. To open up St. Louis’s half of the third, Jhonny Peralta hit his second home run of the season.
In relief of Lackey, who went six innings for the Cubs, Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, and Clayton Richards combined to hurl three innings, and the Cardinals managed only three baserunners — two on walks by Grimm.
With an earned run average just south of six in his seven most recent starts, Jaime Garcia was splendid for the Cardinals. Garcia lasted 6.2 innings before being double-switched out of the game in favor of Seung Hwan Oh, who pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. Garcia allowed two runs in the third inning on RBI hits from Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras.
A double and a hit by pitched following the strikeout of Addison Russell put the Cubs in business with runners at first and second against Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal with one out in the bottom of the ninet inning. Albert Almora, the runner at second, broke for third on a ball in the dirt that appeared to get away from Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. Molina instinctively recovered and fired to third to nab Almora and record the second out of the inning. Following the 2-5 putout, Ben Zobrist laced a single to right field that presumably would have scored Almora if he would have stayed at second base. Rosenthal was able to record the final out of the ballgame on his fifteenth pitch of the inning, getting Jason Heyward to pop out to the second baseman for the 27 out.
-RHP Mitch Harris will miss the remainder of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure on his elbow. The procedure, though it was not Tommy John surgery, was focused on his ulnar collateral ligament; the ligament was not torn, but it was no longer attached to the bone. A time table has not been established, but the recovery time is expected to be shorter than with other reconstructive surgeries involving the UCL.
-Before the second game of the series, the Cubs placed relief pitcher Clayton Richard on the 15-day disabled list with a blister. Richard pitch one-third of an inning in Monday’s game, allowing one hit.
Game Two: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3 — WP: Adam Wainwright (6-4) LP: Jason Hammel (7-3) SV: Trevor Rosenthal (14)
Backed by three-run third and another strong outing from Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals won the middle game of the series over the Cubs by a 4-3 score and secured a series victory.
With the score knotted at one, Matt Carpenter homered on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the top of the third against Cubs starter Jason Hammel. After Aledmys Diaz singled, Matt Holliday hit his thirteenth homer of the season to give the Cardinals a three-run, 4-1 lead.
Hammel exited after 5.2 innings and gave way to 24-year-old Gerardo Concepcion, who was making his major-league debut. Concepcion pitched 1.1 innings, preceding one-inning outings from Pedro Strop and Travis Wood.
Wainwright worked 6.2 innings for the Cardinals, allowing three earned runs and whiffing four. Anthony Rizzo hit a sacrifice fly in the first to put the Cubs on the board, their only lead of the game over the Cardinals’ pitching staff. Jason Heyward doubled in a run in the third, and Albert Almora hit into a double play with nobody out to score Addison Russel from third.
The Cubs put two runners on against Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth, but Rosenthal worked out of the jam to record his fourteenth save of the year.
-With a win on Tuesday, the Cardinals are 10-2 in Adam Wainwright’s last twelve starts.
Game Three: Cardinals, 7, Cubs 2 — WP: Michael Wacha (3-7) LP: Jake Arrieta (11-2)
With a gem of an outing from Michael Wacha and a five-run sixth inning, the Cardinals cruised to a matinee victory over the Cubs on Tuesday to sweep the three-game set.
In the top of the fifth, Stephen Piscotty grounded out to score a run, and Ben Zobrist’s throwing error allowed another tally to hit the scoreboard, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. Arrieta was pulled from the game with 106 pitches after the fifth inning, and Justin Grimm took his place.
Brandon Moss led off the inning with a double and took third on a wild pitch. Moss scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Yadier Molina, who scored along with Kolten Wong on a two-RBI double from Matt Carpenter. Carl Edwards Jr. came on in relief of Grimm and served up a 1-0 pitch to Aledmys Diaz that he was able to drive for his ninth home run of the season, a two-run shot to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.
With two outs and a runner on second in the seventh, Willson Contreras hit his second major-league long ball to ensure the Cubs would not be shut out. Contreras was the last batter that Wacha faced in his splendid outing, one where he allowed a total of three hits. Wacha exited in favor of Seth Maness. Maness, in his first outing in the majors since hitting the disabled list on May 13, pitched through one out in the eighth and was followed by Tyler Lyons and Jonathan Broxton, who turned in clean outings.
–With three wins in this series, the Cardinals have won eight straight games on the road.
-The Cardinals are the only team in the majors this season to have played more than five games with the Cubs and have a winning record.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will visit Safeco Field in Seattle for a three-game series this weekend with the Mariners, beginning on Friday night.
Cubs: The Cubs will be in Miami on Thursday to begin a four-game series with the Marlins at Marlins Park.