Chicago Cubs even NLDS at 1-1 with Cardinals as series moves to Wrigley Field
Cubs use big second inning to top Cards, even series at 1-1
The Wild Card win for the Chicago Cubs was important, but so was ending a division series streak that went back to 2003. Joe Maddon pushed all the right buttons at all the right times as the Cubs used a five-run second inning to quiet the St. Louis Cardinals’ fans early as they evened the NLDS at one game apiece.
Kyle Hendricks allowed a solo home run to lead off the first inning to Matt Carpenter before finally settling into a groove. The Cardinals–the leagues’ only 100 win team–looked like anything but that in the second inning. Maddon turned to small ball, opting to use the bunt to get the Cubs on the board. Hendricks laid down a safety squeeze that led to Austin Jackson scoring while Jaime Garcia (0-1, 0.00) threw the ball away allowing Hendricks to reach and Miguel Montero to advance to third.
Addison Russell followed with another bunt that led to disaster for the Cardinals as Montero scored and Hendricks moved to third. Dexter Fowler followed with another infield hit as a slow chopper up the middle led to a hit and the Cubs scoring their third run of the game. Jorge Soler–playing in place of the red-hot Kyle Schwarber–hit a two-run home run to lift them to a 5-1 lead.
As Hendricks was getting locked in, the Cubs added another run in the third as Montero grounded out to score Anthony Rizzo. The 6-1 lead looked as if it would hold has Hendricks was using the change-up to perfection to retire Cardinals hitters.
After striking out the first two hitters in the fifth, the wheels came off for Hendricks. Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk hit back-to-back no doubters to cut the lead to 6-3.
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Maddon turned the ball over to Travis Wood (1-0, 0.00) to close out the fifth, and he then completed two more scoreless after that while striking out two. In the eighth with normal set-up man Pedro Strop having his issues with the Cards–especially at Busch Stadium–he turned to Trevor Cahill. The unusual move worked perfectly as Cahill struck out two.
Closer Hector Rondon worked the ninth against the heart of the Cardinals order, allowing just an infield single to Jason Heyward before getting back-to-back ground balls to end the game to snap the losing streak.
The two teams now will head to Chicago as Cy Young hopeful Jake Arrieta will look to continue his postseason magic and put the Cubs up 2-1 in the series. Cardinals’ starter Michael Wacha has struggled against the Cubs this season posting a 6.86 ERA against them in four starts.
Game 3 of the best-of-five series will be played Monday (4:30 p.m. or 6 ET on TBS) at Wrigley Field, and it will be the first postseason game there since Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS.