Looking to rebound from the previous afternoon’s blunder (which was an 8-3 loss), the St. Louis Cardinals entered Saturday’s game against the Chicago Cubs still up 5.5 games over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central division.
But the Cubs once again came to play.
Big home runs by Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant (who tied a Cubs record for more home runs by a rookie), powered the Cubs early on, but the relief pitching really held their ground in the end when the Cardinals were looking to rally back.
The starters for the game were Michael Wacha (16-5, 2.96 ERA) and Travis Wood (5-4, 4.11 ERA).
Soler and Bryant got things started for the Cubs in the bottom of the first when a Bryant double scored Soler to make it 1-0. Starlin Castro, who had six RBI’s the afternoon before, kept his hot streak going by hitting a single to score Bryant.
In the second inning, St. Louis scored thanks in part to Kolten Wong, hitting a sacrifice fly to score Jhonny Peralta. The pitching started to improve afterwards for both teams, as no runs were scored until the bottom of the fifth inning.
Soler led off with a solo home run to make it a 3-1 game, and that was directly followed by Bryant, hitting a solo home run of his own to make it 4-1 Chicago. The Cubs added yet another run in the bottom of the sixth inning. By this point, Jonathan Broxton entered the game, as Wacha’s day was done. Tommy La Stella was at the plate, and singled to score Chris Denorfia to give them a 5-1 lead.
The Cardinals however, were not out of it yet.
With Greg Garcia (who had gotten hit by a pitch) on base in the top of the ninth inning, Matt Carpenter belted a two-run shot to put the Cardinals within two runs. Yadier Molina later hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4 Cubs. But unfortunately, Stephen Piscotty grounded out to end the game, as the Cubs won their second straight series against the rival Cardinals.
Saturday wasn’t without its good news for the Gateway City, though. With the San Francisco Giants losing, the 92-56 St. Louis Cardinals clinched a berth in the postseason, their fifth in a row (the longest streak in franchise history).
Carlos Martinez gets the start on Sunday in the series finale for the Cardinals, as they look to avoid getting swept.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)