Friday’s Game Report: Cardinals 8, Cubs 0
By Rob Rains
The Cardinals hope they got a glimpse Friday night of the kind of weapon that Jordan Hicks could be for the rest of the season.
Pitching in a situation that no doubt will come up again, Hicks came out of the bullpen with no outs in the seventh inning, runners on first and third, and the Cardinals leading the Cubs 3-0 at Busch Stadium.
Three batters later, the threat was over – and Hicks got to enjoy home runs from Lars Nootbaar and Tommy Edman that blew the game open as the Cardinals won the first game of the weekend series.
Hicks struck out all three hitters he faced, all three on swings and misses off his slider. Hicks threw 15 pitches, nine of them strikes and five of them at 100 miles per hour or greater.
The win improved the Cardinals record to a season-high 22 games over .500 (77-55).
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Tyler O’Neill’s two-run single in the first staked Jordan Montgomery to a quick 2-0 lead as the Cardinals took advantage of two walks in the inning, both of whom scored … O’Neill singled again in the sixth with two outs, stole second and scored on a single by Corey Dickerson … Nootbaar’s two-run homer in the seventh followed a walk to Yadier Molina and Edman capped the scoring with a three-run homer in the eighth following another walk and Molina’s second hit of the game … Albert Pujols had two plate appearances, drawing a walk and grounding out.
On the mound: Montgomery protected the 2-0 lead into the seventh. He gave up seven hits but kept the Cubs hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position. Montgomery improved his record to 5-0 in six starts with the Cardinals and has thrown 15 scoreless innings in his two starts against the Cubs since joining the Cardinals. He also had seven scoreless innings in a start for the Yankees against the Cubs in June … After Hicks pitched the seventh, Chris Stratton worked the final two innings, retiring all six batters he faced.
Key stat: Since Aug. 2, the Cardinals are 15-1 when hitting two or more home runs, including 11 consecutive wins.
Worth noting: Ben DeLuzio, called up from Memphis as the rosters expanded to 28 players, made his major-league debut after 1,650 minor-league at-bats. He pinch-hit for Dickerson in the eighth and walked, scoring on Edman’s homer. He finished the game in center field, catching the final out of the game … Nolan Arenado was named the NL Player of the Month for August. He also won the award in April … With Jack Flaherty returning to the rotation on Monday, Dakota Hudson was been “temporarily” moved to the bullpen according to manager Oli Marmol.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will get the start on Saturday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter@RobRains