The Chicago Cubs (46-25) and St. Louis Cardinals (32-38) have faced each other nearly 2,500 times in the storied history of Major League Baseball, but this is something different entirely. The rival franchises met Saturday in London, England for the first of a two-game set before traveling back to the United States on Monday. And thanks to a 9th-inning rally, the Cubs won the first game 6-3, via MLB The Show 20.
Yu Darvish and pitched well through the first four innings, keeping the Cards off the board. But in the 5th, pitcher Dakota Hudson reached on an infield single, Tommy Edman smacked a base hit to right field, and Paul Goldschmidt launched a three-run homer to right-center to give St. Louis a 3-0 lead. Darvish left after that inning with three earned runs allowed on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
Hudson made it to the 6th without allowing any runs to cross, but Anthony Rizzo responded to the Goldschmidt homer with a single to get a rally going. Javier Báez was hit in the back with a curveball to put two on with nobody out, then Hudson walked Ian Happ. Jason Heyward hit a one-out single to make the score 3-1 and Hudson walked Victor Caratini to force in the Cubs second run.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt then went to left-hander Genesis Cabrera out of the bullpen, and he was able to get pinch-hitter David Bote to ground out. Hudson finished his day in the UK with a line of 5 2/3 innings, six hits, four walks, two earned runs, and five strikeouts.
St. Louis took the 3-2 lead into the 9th and sent closer Giovanny Gallegos to the mound in an attempt to close out a win. He was greeted by a pinch-hit single by Albert Almora Jr., then Bote clubbed a go-ahead two-run homer over the wall in left to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
The offense didn’t stop there. With one out, left-hander Andrew Miller came in and walked Rizzo ahead of a double from Báez to make it 5-3. Next up was Happ, who put the cherry on top with an RBI double of his own.
With the Cubs leading 6-3, it was an easy bottom of the ninth for Craig Kimbrel. The closer set the Cards down in order, striking out one batter and collecting his league-leading 26th save in 28 chances.
Notes: Prior the traveling to London, the Cubs sent left-hander Danny Hultzen (15.2 IP, 18 K, 9 BB, 4.60 ERA) and right-hander Jharel Cotton (8 IP, 6 K, 2 BB, 1.13 ERA) to Triple-A. They recalled right-hander Dillon Maples (18.2 IP, 19 K, 9 BB, 0.48 ERA with Iowa) and outfielder Mark Zagunis (.273, 7 HR in 187 AB).
Bote – 1-for-2, HR, 2 RBI
Rizzo – 2-for-3, 2 BB
Báez – 2-for-3, BB, 2B, RBI
Goldschmidt – 2-for-4, BB, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Edman – 2-for-5, R
Bader – 0-for-1, 3 BB
Winning Pitcher – Chatwood (2-1)
Losing Pitcher – Gallegos (1-2)
Save – Kimbrel (26)
Home Runs – Bote (10), Goldschmidt (10)