The Cubs carried a little momentum into their first matchu of the season with the rival St. Louis Cardinals Thursday night at Wrigley Field. A quality pitching effort and some timely power were enough to give Chicago the win.
Willson Contreras immediately gave his team a lead with a two-run homer off of starter Matthew Liberatore in the bottom of the 1st. The Cardinals got to Keegan Thompson in the 3rd inning with a double from Paul Goldschmidt and an RBI single from Nolan Arenado to tie the score at two.
Solo home runs from Frank Schwindel in the 3rd and Ian Happ the following frame put the Cubs ahead 4-2 after four innings. Clint Frazier singled home another run in the 5th inning to expand the lead to three.
Thompson was very good going into the 6th inning, making this the longest outing of his career, and the Cubs held on to a 5-3 edge. The home team would add two more runs in the bottom of the 8th including on sac fly from Schwindel.
Those insurance runs proved very important when Harrison Bader hit a two-run home run in the top of the 9th. Reliever Mychal Givens was able to shake off that bad pitch and close out a 7-5 Cubs win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Thompson did an excellent job of holding the Cardinals’ lineup down all night and the Cubs scored seven runs to support the pitching effort.
Chicago had the bases loaded with one out in the 8th inning and managed to push two runs across. That turned out to be the winning margin in the game.
Stats That Matter
- Thompson was good yet again on Thursday: 5.1 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 3 K, and 3 BB.
- Frazier reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances, the first time a Cub has done so since Anthony Rizzo in 2019.
- Schwindel finished a triple shy of a cycle.
- Contreras had to leave the game after getting hit in the ankle by a pitch.
Thompson is really starting to emerge as a guy going forward. The Cubs should definitely continue starting him in the rotation for the rest of 2022. Also, beating the Cardinals is fun, so they should keep doing that.