Wednesday’s Game Report: Cubs 2, Cardinals 0
By Rob Rains
Well aware of how Kyle Hendricks has pitched against them – for more than three years – the Cardinals knew they likely would have limited opportunities against the Cubs’ starter in Wednesday night’s game at Busch Stadium.
Hendricks came into the game with a 7-0 record in his last 10 starts against the Cardinals, all wins for Chicago, and had allowed only one run in 16 innings in two starts this year.
So when the Cardinals got a leadoff double in the second inning, they thought maybe that was their chance. It wasn’t. Then they got another leadoff double in the third, to no avail. And then it happened for a third consecutive inning.
In total, they had 11 at-bats in those three innings with a runner on second or third, and got two infield hits, one of which did not even advance the runner, but failed to score. The Cubs took advantage of those blown chances when they capitalized on two mistakes by the Cardinals to win the game and pull even with the Cardinals again on top of the NL Central.
“We had our chances,” said manager Mike Shildt. “We had his back against the wall and he was able to come out and execute pitches. … Hendricks pitches us tough.”
A fielding error by Tommy Edman led to an unearned run in the sixth and a throwing error by Matt Wieters let in another unearned run in the eighth.
Hendricks scattered seven hits, including the three leadoff doubles, over seven scoreless innings as he lowered his ERA to 0.39 (one run in 23 innings) against the Cardinals this season.
The Cardinals have not defeated Hendricks since April 20, 2016.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: In addition to the three doubles leading off innings, the Cardinals got a two-out double from Dexter Fowler in the fifth. They stranded another runner at second in the sixth after Kolten Wong singled and stole second … The Cardinals got a single from Wong and a pinch-hit double by Rangel Ravelo off Craig Kimbrel with one out in the ninth but stranded those runners too as Matt Wieters grounded out and Yairo Munoz struck out. That left them 2-of-15 with runners in scoring position, stranding eight runners at second or third, in the game and were a combined 2-of-22 in the first two games of the series … The 13-game streak with at least one home run ended as the Cardinals were shut out for the eighth time this season … The two hits in the ninth made it the first time the Cardinals had two hits in a game off Kimbrel in his last 18 games against them, dating back to Sept. 9, 2011. Since that game they were a combined 4-of-53 against Kimbrel coming into Wednesday night’s game.
On the mound: Miles Mikolas allowed just four hits over five scoreless innings before giving up the unearned run in the sixth. Ian Happ’s single to center drove in Kris Bryant, who reached on Edman’s error and advanced to second on a walk to Anthony Rizzo … Giovanny Gallegos got the final out of the inning, stranding two runners … The Cubs added their second run in the eighth when Javy Baez doubled with two outs, stole third and scored on Wieters’ throwing error.
Key stat: The shutout was the fifth by the Cubs in 122 games at Busch Stadium 3 since it opened in 2006. It also was the first time the Cardinals lost a game at home allowing two unearned runs in a 2-0 or 2-1 loss since they lost 2-1 to Colorado on April 1, 2008.
Worth noting: Marcell Ozuna was 0-of-2 with a walk and a run scored on Wednesday in Memphis. He is expected to be re-evaluated after playing on Thursday night and possibly will be activated in time to join the Cardinals on Saturday in Oakland or perhaps on Monday in Los Angeles … Adalberto Mejia, the left-handed reliever claimed on waivers from the Angels on Tuesday, arrived at Busch Stadium from the Dominican Republic just before game time and was added to the active roster. Daniel Ponce de Leon, who had struggled in his last three starts, was optioned to Memphis.
Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will get the start on Thursday night in the final game of the series while Jon Lester will start for the Cubs. Flaherty’s last win came on May 14.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Post-Game Mike Shildt: