Friday’s Game Report: Cubs 3, Cardinals 0

Friday’s Game Report: Cubs 3, Cardinals 0

By Rob Rains

Kyle Hendricks was pitching for the Cubs on Friday night, and as is usually the case when that happens, that meant it was a tough night for the Cardinals.

Hendricks has not lost to the Cardinals in his last eight starts aty Busch Stadium, including his win in the opener of this weekend’s three-game series.

His last loss at Busch came on April 20, 2016, when the Cardinals starting lineup consisted of Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty, Matt Holliday, Matt Adams, Randal Grichuk, Yadier Molina, Kolten Wong and Aledmys Diaz.

It was a far different lineup on Friday night, but there was no change in Hendricks’ domination of the Cardinals. He allowed just five hits and one walk over 7 1/3 innings in raising his career record against the Cardinals to 13-3, his most wins against any opponent.

In Hendricks’ 20 starts against the Cardinals since that 2016 loss, the Cubs have won 16 of them.

The nine players the Cardinals started against Hendricks on Friday night had a combined 38 hits against him in 140 career at-bats, but more than half of that total – 23 – came from the combination of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, most of which came when they were wearing a different uniform.

The rest of the Cardinals starters were just 15-of-63 in their careers against Hendricks.

The Cubs gave Hendricks all of the run support he needed when Nico Hoerner hit a two-run homer in the second inning.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals’ first three hits off Hendricks all came with two outs – a single by Juan Yepez in the second, who was easily thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double, by Tommy Edman in the sixth and Brendan Donovan in the seventh … Dylan Carlson led off the eighth with a single and went to third on a double by Harrison Bader, but both runners stayed there as Chris Martin got the final two outs of the inning … The three Cardinals facing Hendricks for the first time – Nolan Gorman, Donovan and Yepez – were a combined 2-of-9 … This was the fifth time the Cardinals have been shut out by the Cubs in 137 games at home against their rivals since Busch 3 opened in 2006.

On the mound: Hoerner’s homer was one of seven hits allowed by Cardinals starter Andre Pallante in his six innings of work. He pitched out of jams in the third and fourth, but gave up an RBI double to Ian Happ in the fifth … Junior Fernandez and Nick Wittgren combined to hold the Cubs to just one hit over the final three innings.

Key stat: Since that last loss more than six years ago, the Cubs have won seven of the eight games that Hendricks has started at Busch. In those games, he has allowed a combined nine runs in 53 1/3 innings, an ERA of 1.52.

Worth noting: Jordan Hicks pitched two innings for Memphis at Indianapolis on Friday night. He retired all three batters he faced in his first inning, but walked two and allowed an RBI single in his second inning of work, when he also recorded three strikeouts. Hicks threw 39 pitches, 22 for strikes. If Hicks recovers well, he likely will go to Memphis to pitch in consecutive games next week before rejoining the major-league team … Yadier Molina is in Puerto Rico and the Cardinals hope to get an update in about a week on how his sore knees are feeling. As of now there is no timetable on when Molina will be able to play …. Drew VerHagen went on the injured list for the second time this season because of tightness in his right shoulder. Packy Naughton was recalled from Memphis.

Looking ahead: Miles Mikolas will get the start in the 1:15 p.m. game on Saturday.

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.