With severe weather set to hit the Chicago-land area, the first-place Chicago Cubs were hoping to prevent a three-game sweep. Despite having ace right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound, St. Louis got the best of them.
After taking care of business by sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend, things sorta went downhill for the Chicago Cubs. Not only did they suffer yet another key injury, they just don’t seem to be on track.
Chicago (47-23) have been outscored 7-5 in the previous two games of this opening series until the Cardinals (38-33) matched their run total earlier on today at Wrigley Field.
St. Louis managed to chase Arrieta (11-2, 1.74 ERA) from the game after just five innings of work having tagged him for one earned runs on four hits. The Cubs have lost a few of Arrieta’s previous five starts.
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Michael Wacha (3-7, 4.41 ERA), on the other hand, was sharp on the mound for the visiting team who scored five runs in the sixth inning. Wacha held this young lineup to two earned runs on just three hits (Cardinals had nine), two walks, five strikeouts and one home run in 6 2/3 innings of work.
Top catching prospect Willson Contreras got his team on the board during the home half of the seventh inning with his second career home run. It was a two-run shot that cut the Cardinal lead down to five.
As soon as Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon pulled reliever Justin Grimm from the game, Carl Edwards Jr. was called upon to stop the bleeding with Carpenter standing on second with only one out in the frame.
That’s when shortstop Aledmys Diaz took it upon himself to launch a two-run homer of his own out to left-center field, making it 7-0. Chicago was unable to respond after that, going down in order in the ninth inning as their lead in the National League Central shrunk down to just nine games ahead of the Redbirds.