Friday’s Game Report: Cubs 4, Cardinals 1

Friday’s Game Report: Cubs 4, Cardinals 1

By Rob Rains

Jack Flaherty offered a pretty succinct description of his first inning against the Cubs on Friday night in the opener of a five-game series at Wrigley Field.

“I just wasn’t very good,” Flaherty said. “I didn’t execute at all. That’s pretty much the way it goes when you don’t execute.”

Flaherty needed 43 pitches to get through the first inning and by that time the Cubs had a 2-0 lead which was more than enough offense for Yu Darvish to get the victory.

Darvish allowed only one hit over seven innings, a home run by Matt Carpenter leading off the sixth, and struck out 11.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Darvish retired the first 15 Cardinals through the fifth inning before Carpenter worked a nine-pitch at-bat and homered on Darvish’s 80th pitch of the game … Coming into the game Carpenter had just four hits in his last 38 at-bats in 13 games since the Cardinals left Wrigley Field on Aug. 19 … Both of Carpenter’s home runs this season have come at Wrigley Field. He struck out in his other two at-bats … The Cardinals only other hit was a one-out single by Yadier Molina in the eighth … Paul DeJong flew out twice to the warning track … The Cardinals finished with 14 strikeouts, tying their season high. Every Cardinal struck out at least once and Tyler O’Neill fanned three times as his season average fell to .171.

On the mound: The Cubs loaded the bases in the first inning off Flaherty on a double by Kris Bryant and two walks before Willson Contreras singled in the two runs … Flaherty allowed another RBI single to Contreras in the third which ended his night after 69 pitches … Contreras drove in his fourth run of the game with a one-out homer off Jake Woodford in the sixth.

Key stat: The home run by Carpenter was his 15th hit of the season but he still has more walks (16) than hits this season.

Worth noting: Matt Wieters, who had been out with a broken toe, was activated from the injured list. Andrew Knizner was optioned to the Springfield camp, but will remain in Chicago for the weekend as part of the taxi squad … The Cardinals expect to activate Andrew Miller before Saturday’s doubleheader. He has been on the injured list because of left shoulder fatigue … Manager Mike Shildt said you could put it in “heavy pencil” that Carlos Martinez will get the start in game one of the doubleheader against the Twins on Tuesday at Busch Stadium. The team is still “working” on the starter for game two.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will play the first of three doubleheaders in a six-day span on Saturday. Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson will get the starts against the Cubs, with the Cardinals to be the home team in the second game. After the doubleheader against the Twins on Tuesday the Cardinals also will play a makeup doubleheader on Thursday against the Tigers.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.