The Cubs entered Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals in position for another home sweep and needing a win in order to remain tied for first in the NL Central with the Milwaukee. Kyle Hendricks took the ball for the Cubs against veteran Adam Wainwright, who won a duel with Cole Hamels in his last appearance against the Cubs during the Redbirds’ St. Louis sweep last weekend.
A Cubs victory meant a 10th consecutive win in a Hendricks start against the Cards, which sets a new record for any Cubs starter since the 1908 championship season (h/t Cubs Radio). Hendricks pitched another gem to boost his case for the National League All-Star Team, backed by a 2-for-3 night from leadoff man Kyle Schwarber and a solo shot by Carlos González, his first as a Cub. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Hendricks allowed just one run on eight hits in 7.0 innings pitched, and quick thinking on defense by Anthony Rizzo and Hendricks ended the Cardinals’ two on, no out threat in the top of the 6th inning with no runs scored. Productive outs and situational hitting allowed the Cubs to convert on scoring chances, with Schwarber driving in two of the Cubs’ five runs.
After Jason Heyward led off the bottom of the 5th inning with a single, a Hendricks sacrifice bunt advanced him to second. From there, he scored the go-ahead run when David Bote hammered a hanging Wainwright breaking ball to center field.
The Cardinals attempted to answer in the top of the 6th after Paul Goldschmidt, who had been relatively quiet in the series, hit a double to center. Marcell Ozuna followed up with a single to left, advancing Goldschmidt to third with no outs.
Ex-Cub Dexter Fowler then hit a grounder to first that was picked up by Rizzo, who waited for Goldschmidt to attempt to score before firing to Willson Contreras to nail his Cardinals counterpart at home. Hendricks then retired the next two St. Louis batters to end the scoring threat.
Stats that Matter
- Two Cardinals errors allowed pinch hitter Albert Almora Jr. to reach and advance into scoring position, leading to an unearned run in the bottom of the 7th following a RBI single by Schwarber.
- Schwarber went 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored.
- Jason Heyward also went 2-for-3 with one run scored.
- Both teams had nine hits in the game, but the Cubs left four runners on base to the Cardinals’ nine.
The Cubs completed the sweep, continuing the trend in this year’s season series against the Cards of the home team winning every game. The victory means the Cubs will remain tied for first place in the NL Central with the Brewers, who are currently on a four-game winning streak. The Cubs improved to 6-4 in their last 10 games and finished their latest home stand with a 6-1 record ahead of a seven-game western road trip to Colorado and Los Angeles.
The Cubs head to Colorado for CarGo’s first game back in his old stomping grounds. Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.88 ERA) will face off against the Rockies’ ace German Márquez (6-3, 4.07 ERA). Chicago-area fans will be able to listen on 670 The Score and watch on NBC Sports Chicago.