Thursday’s Game Report: Cubs 7, Cardinals 5

Thursday’s Game Report: Cubs 7, Cardinals 5

By Rob Rains

Matthew Liberatore had a tough start to Thursday night’s game at Wrigley Field, and it didn’t end well either for the Cardinals’ bullpen.

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead against Liberatore just two batters into the game with the first of three home runs against the lefthander. In the eighth, Kodi Whitley came into the game after the Cubs loaded the bases against T.J. McFarland and walked in a run and then gave up a sacrifice fly.

Those two runs turned out to be the difference in the game after Harrison Bader hit a two-run homer in the ninth but it wasn’t enough to prevent the win for the Cubs in the opener of a five-game series.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals tied the game at 2-2 in the third on a single by Harrison Bader, a two-out double by Paul Goldschmidt and a single by Nolan Arenado. The double by Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 24 games and his on-base streak to 38 consecutive games … With the bases loaded thanks to three consecutive walks in the sixth, Yadier Molina got an RBI with a fielder’s choice groundout … In the ninth, Bader’s fifth homer of the year pulled the Cardinals within two but Tommy Edman grounded out and Goldschmidt struck out to end the game.

On the mound: Liberatore lasted just 3 1/3 innings, the shortest outing in his three major-league starts. The three homers he allowed were to Willson Contreras in the first, followed by Frank Schwindel in the third and to Ian Happ in the fourth. He left with the bases loaded but Nick Wittgren got the next two outs to get out of the jam … In the eighth,  McFarland two singles and with one out hit a batter to load the bases, and Whitley could not get out of the inning until two more runs had scored.

Key stat: The last Cardinals starter to give up three home runs in a game at Wrigley Field was Jeff Suppan on July 23, 2010, in six innings.

Worth noting: Nolan Gorman was out of the lineup for the third consecutive day because of tightness in his back but hopefully will be able to play on Friday … Pitchers Jake Woodford and Zack Thompson are with the Cardinals in Chicago and could be added to the roster at some point this weekend … The Cardinals’ two injured outfielders, Tyler O’Neill (shoulder) and Dylan Carlson (hamstring), are scheduled to begin rehab assignments on Friday night – O’Neill with Triple A Memphis at Charlotte and Carlson at Double A Springfield … At Springfield on Thursday night, top prospect Jordan Walker hit two homers while Moise Gomez hit his 19th of the season, the most in the minor leagues.

Looking ahead: Miles Mikolas will get the start in Friday’s 1:20 p.m. game.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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