After taking Friday’s opener in blowout fashion, the Cubs had a chance to win their series against the Cardinals Saturday night at Busch Stadium. The Cards jumped out to an early lead, but the Cubs battled back to eventually take a late lead and get the win.
Red-hot Marcell Ozuna got things started against Kyle Hendricks by ripping a two-run homer to center in the bottom of the 1st inning. The Cubs began to rally back against Carlos Martinez in the top of the 3rd inning, when Willson Contreras hit an infield single to first to score Ben Zobrist. Addison Russell homered in the 4th to tie the game at 2-2.
St. Louis regained the lead in the bottom of the inning when the Martinez singled home Dexter Fowler. The Northsiders quickly rallied back, tying the score on a Kyle Schwarber bloop single. The Cubs grabbed their first lead in the top of the 7th inning when Ian Happ doubled into the right field corner, scoring Anthony Rizzo to make it a 4-3 game.
After Zobrist reached on an error in the top of the 8th, Jason Heyward took Jordan Hicks deep for a two-run bomb to right. That 6-3 lead would be put to the test in the bottom of the 9th inning, when the first two batters reached against the well-rested Brandon Morrow. The closer was able to shake off the rust and get the next three to close out the win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The game was tied 3-3 by the time both teams reached their bullpens. The Cubs’ pen kept the Cards off the scoreboard, while St. Louis allowed three runs to score.
Fowler drew a four-pitch walk against Hendricks to open up the bottom of the 6th. Yairo Munoz followed with a single to left field, but Fowler took a big turn around second and Schwarber threw behind him. The runner was tagged out at third and the potential rally fizzled.
Stats That Matter
- It was another game in which Hendricks battled despite not having his best stuff: 6 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 3 K, and 4 BB. Despite the homers he’s allowed this season, he has only allowed more than three runs twice in 2018.
- Happ had a couple of hits including the game-winning double in the 7th.
- Willson Contreras had a couple of hits and gunned down a runner trying to steal. Pretty much what you are looking for from your catcher.
- Morrow asked for rest against Pittsburgh after feeling a bit fatigued, then the Cubs didn’t need to use him in Milwaukee. The lack of use showed a bit at first, then he clicked in and the Cards had no chance.
With the Brewers loss, the Cubs move within 1/2 a game of first in the NL Central. It also marks their 40th win of the 2018 season. For perspective, the Cubs didn’t win their 40th game in 2017 until June 29.
Chicago goes for the sweep on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball when Jose Quintana faces off against Jack Flaherty at 7:05 pm CT.