Chicago Cubs move into first place with 5-3 win over Cardinals
By Ryan Tadych
The Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball in the second half. With Milwaukee losing, the Cubs are tied at the top for the Central lead.
The Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals rivalry is never short of excitement and drama and tonight was much the same. Jose Quintana (2-0) made his first start as a Cub at Wrigley and turned in a quality start. Despite having some hard hit balls off him, Quintana completed six innings, allowing three runs and striking out seven.
In a back and forth game, the Cardinals jumped off to an early lead by Cubs killer Randal Grichuk‘s two-run home run in the second. The Cubs quickly answered back with run scoring two-out hits by Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant in the third
Each team exchanged solo shots in the fourth to keep the game tied at three before Willson Contreras‘ two-run shot in the sixth gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead for good.
Quintana’s 1st Wrigley Start
Quintana finished with a solid outing but was not as sharp as his first start against the Orioles. A couple of home runs were the only real blemishes on his outing, but there was some good defense by the Cubs that helped save a few runs. In the end, Quintana recorded a quality start, which is all you can ask for. He made pitches when he needed too and kept the team in the ballgame. Overall, a solid start to his Cubs career.
The Cubs defense was on display early in the game. In the first, Heyward made a spectacular leaping grab to keep the game scoreless. Then, later in the inning, Jedd Gyorko doubled with Matt Carpenter on first. Carpenter tried to score, but Addison Russell threw him out at the plate after a great relay from Kyle Schwarber. The Cubs also turned a nifty double play in the second inning as well.
With the win, the Cubs have climbed to a season high five games above .500 at 51-46. They had reached four games above multiple times this season but have never been able to break past that. They are also now 8-1 coming out of the All-Star Break and playing their best ball of the year. The Cubs also move into a first place tie with the Brewers, though they technically are a few hundreds of a percent better since they have two fewer losses.
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The Crosstown Classic begins tomorrow at 1:20 pm at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks (4-3, 4.09 ERA) makes his return to the rotation after missing several weeks with a finger injury. He will be opposed by Miguel Gonzalez (4-9, 4.89 ERA). The game can be seen on ABC-7 Chicago (Cubs broadcasters) or CSN Chicago (Sox broadcasters).