Friday’s Game Report: Cubs 3, Cardinals 1
The last time the Cardinals faced Cole Hamels they managed only two hits over seven innings but scratched out one unearned that was enough for a 2-1 win last Sunday at Busch Stadium.
Hamels pitched better than that on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field, and that was bad news for the Cardinals.
This time Hamels allowed just three hits over eight shutout innings and struck out 10 in keeping the Cardinals winless in four games in Chicago so far this season.
Hamels was lifted after the eighth inning, having thrown 99 pitches, instead of getting a chance for the shutout.
Still, he became only the third Cubs pitcher since 1937 to throw at least eight scoreless innings with 10 or more strikeouts against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. The only other pitchers to do that were Rick Sutcliffe in 1984 and Frank Castillo in 1995.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals only run came on a ninth-inning home run by Paul DeJong after Pedro Strop relieved Hamels. It was DeJong’s 10th homer and his second in the last two games … Prior to the homer the Cardinals only hits were a two-out double by Harrison Bader in the second and singles by Dexter Fowler in the sixth and pinch-hitter Jose Martinez in the seventh … Fowler was hitting leadoff as Matt Carpenter got the day off and his single broke an 0-of-21 streak in six games as the leadoff hitter this year, but then he was promptly picked off first … The Cardinals’ only at-bat with a runner in scoring position came after Bader’s double.
On the mound: Miles Mikolas had to leave the game after he was hit on the right forearm by a line drive by David Bote in the fourth. Mikolas picked the ball up and got the out at first, the third out of the inning. The initial diagnosis was that he had a contusion … Mikolas allowed all three of the Cubs’ runs, two coming on a home run on an 0-2 pitch to Javier Baez in the first inning. It was the first home run Mikolas had allowed in his career on an 0-2 pitch … Giovanny Gallegos pitched two scoreless innings before Ryan Helsley walked the bases loaded (one intentional) in the seventh and then got out of the jam by striking out Kris Bryant on a 100-mph fastball … Tyler Webb worked a 1-2-3 eighth.
Key stat: Baez’s homer was the 13th allowed by Mikolas this season in 73 innings. Last season opponents hit 16 homers off Mikolas in 200 innings. It was the second home run off Mikolas in the first inning this year; last year only one of the home runs allowed by Mikolas came in the first inning.
Worth noting: Matt Wieters was 0-of-3 and since he moved into the starting lineup in place of the injured Yadier Molina he has gone 5-of-26 … Major League Baseball officially announced that the Cardinals and Cubs will play two games in London nest season. The dates for the games will be June 13-14 … Unless he has to pitch in relief either of the next two games Michael Wacha is expected to get the open start on Monday night in Miami … Alex Reyes is set to make a second start on Saturday for Memphis.
Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will start Saturday night’s 6: 15 p.m. game with Jon Lester set to start for the Cubs.