Cubs Recap: Dan Haren backed by offensive explosion in St. Louis


9. Final. 0. 33. 9

Haren pitches gem in Labor Day showdown

After closing out the homestand strong by sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Chicago Cubs continued to roll as right-hander Dan Haren turned in his best performance since joining the North Siders in the 9-0 win over the first-place St. Louis Cardinals.

Haren (9-9, 3.73 ERA) surprised us all by working seven scoreless innings against the Redbirds, holding them to only seven hits while issuing two walks and recording five strikeouts. Those five strikeouts brought him within only two from reaching that milestone number of 2,000 punch-outs as a big league pitcher.

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While the 34-year-old was doing work on the mound, his offense jumped all over Lance Lynn early on. Outfielder Dexter Fowler plated the first three runs of the contest with a lead-off homer in the first and followed that up with a two-run RBI double in his next at-bat.

The Cubs (79-57) – who pushed across eight runs in one inning this past Friday – broke things open by hanging a five-spot during the top of the third, resulting in Lynn exiting the game.

Chris Coghlan lead-off the inning with a single to right field and would come around to score on an RBI double off the bat of Anthony Rizzo just moments later.

Shortly after Kris Bryant struck out swinging for the first out, catcher Miguel Montero continued to swing a hot bat by lining a base knock of his own to center.

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Cardinals (87-50) skipper Mike Matheny made his way to the mound, opting to pull his starter in hopes of his bullpen being able to put an end to the inning. That didn’t happen.

Reliever Seth Maness entered the game and threw a wild pitch with Starlin Castro in the batter’s box which allowed Montero to take second base. Castro flew out, but Addison Russell capped off the inning with a huge three-run homer to center field to push the lead to eight runs.

Prior to being pulled himself, Haren made it a nine-run ballgame with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Montero from third in the fifth. Prospect CJ Edwards entered the eighth inning, making his big league debut.

Edwards joined the Cubs earlier on today and made a great first impression by working a scoreless eighth. He’s been used mainly as a reliever this season within the minor league circuit.

With the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates losing, the Cubs extended their N.L. Wild Card lead while gaining ground on the second-place Bucs in the process. They are now a two games behind Pittsburgh.

Next: Late additions will play critical part in playoff push