The five-game skid has ended.
And what a way for it to.
In a critical National League Central match-up, the first place Chicago Cubs faced the second place (by 12 1/2 games) St. Louis Cardinals, who entered the game with a 35-33 record just a week removed from sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Starting for Chicago was former Cardinals pitcher John Lackey, while Jaime Garcia got the start on the mound for St. Louis.
It wasn’t a flashy game for the struggling Cardinals, but it was a simple one in which everything that needed to go right did. In the top of the second inning, veteran Brandon Moss launched a shot into the right field bleachers, making it a 1-0 lead for the Cardinals. It was his 16th home run of the season. Soon after, Aledmys Diaz hit an RBI single to increase the team’s early lead to 2-0.
In the third inning, Jhonny Peralta hit a solo home run of his own, to make it 3-0. Chicago would score two of their own in the bottom of the inning, but thanks to pitching performances of Garcia, Seung-Hwan Oh, and Trevor Rosenthal, that’s all the National League’s top team would muster.
The Cubs were coming off a huge three-game sweep of Pittsburgh that knocked the Pirates below the .500 mark and had won 18 of 24 overall. As for St. Louis, they had lost two straight series at home for the first time since 1983.
Lackey (7-3) allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings in his first loss in three appearances this year against his former team.
Garcia’s final line for the evening: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (100 pitches/63 strikes). It was the first time all season that the entire Cardinals starting rotation pitched a quality start in consecutive fashion.
Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (5-4, 4.78 ERA) and Cubs RHP Jason Hammel (7-2, 2.26 ERA) will face off on Tuesday night in the second game of a three game set. Wainwright is 9-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 20 career games at Wrigley.