Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 7, Cubs 5

Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 7, Cubs 5

By Rob Rains

The way Sunday’s game began for the Cardinals, it looked as if it was going to be just as bad of a day as Saturday, when they were blown out by the Cubs in the first of the two-game series in London.

Errors by Paul DeJong and Nolan Gorman led to four unearned runs in the opening inning, but unlike Saturday, the Cardinals had an answer as they rallied from the early deficit to earn a split in the series.

Willson Contreras had his first four-hit game as a Cardinal, against his former team, and Brendan Donovan had a key two-run single to power the Cardinals’ comeback.

After Matthew Liberatore was pulled in the third inning, five relievers combined to keep the Cubs from scoring until they manufactured a run against Jordan Hicks in the ninth.

Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:

At the plate: Donovan’s single capped a three-run second inning that got the Cardinals back into the game before they tied the game on an RBI single from Jordan Walker in the third. That hit extended Walker’s hitting streak to 15 games … They broke the tie with two runs in the fourth, the RBIs coming on a single by Paul Goldschmidt and a sacrifice fly by Lars Nootbaar … Their final run came in the fifth when Contreras led off with a double, the Cardinals’ only extra-base hit in the game, and then scored on a single by Nolan Gorman … The Cardinals finished with 12 hits, 11 of them singles, with Gorman the only Cardinal besides Contreras with a multiple-hit game.

On the mound: Liberatore gave up three two-out hits and a walk following the two first-inning errors that led to the four unearned runs. He pitched around a one-out double in the second but was pulled after issuing a one-out walk in the third … The Cubs had only two hits off the combined relief corps of Jake Woodford, Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegoes and Andre Pallante through the eighth inning … Hicks, who was not available on Saturday because of an illness, allowed a leadoff double and a sacrifice fly in the ninth but also recorded two strikeouts to earn his fourth save … The win was credited to Woodford, who allowed just one hit in his 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Liberatore.

Key stat: Since joining the Cubs in 2022, Stroman is now 0-4 in six starts against the Cardinals with a 6.19 ERA. Overall Stroman’s teams (the Mets and Cubs) have lost his last eight starts against the Cardinals dating back to 2021 … Stroman came into Sunday’s game tied for the NL lead in wins, nine, and his 2.28 ERA was the best in the league.

Worth noting: Liberatore found out on Saturday that he would be starting the game after Jack Flaherty was scratched because of discomfort in his right hip. Flaherty will be examined when the Cardinals return home but the team doesn’t believe the injury will cause him to miss more than the one start … The only Cardinal age 21 or younger with a longer hitting streak than Walker’s 15 games was Albert Pujols, who had a 17-game streak in 2001 … It’s also the longest streak by a Cardinals’ rookie since that streak by Pujols. The franchise record for longest hitting streak by a rookie is 25 games, set by current bench coach Joe McEwing in 1999.

Looking ahead: After returning to St. Louis the Cardinals will have the day off on Monday before opening a three-game series against the Astros on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. The Yankees will then come to town for three weekend games.

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.