Thursday’s Game Report: Cubs 10, Cardinals 3

Thursday’s Game Report: Cubs 10, Cardinals 3

By Rob Rains

The game time temperature on Thursday night at Busch Stadium was 99 degrees, but three batters into the game, Miles Mikolas and Oliver Marmol were even hotter.

Ian Happ accidentally hit catcher Willson Contreras in the head on his backswing, opening a cut and forcing Contreras out of the game. Mikolas’s next pitch brushed Happ back and on his next pitch, he hit Happ in the hip.

As Happ walked calmly to first base, the umpires got together and Mikolas was ejected with their decision being that the pitch which hit Happ was intentional. When Marmol’s protest continued, he also was ejected.

The Cubs went on to score three runs in the inning after Dakota Hudson relieved Mikolas and rolled to the win in the opener of the four-game series.

Here is how Thursday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: Andrew Knizner drove in all of the Cardinals’ runs with the first two-homer game of his career after he came in to replace Contreras. He led off the fourth inning with a home run, and then added a two-run shot into Big Mac Land in the eighth inning. He also homered and drove in three runs on Wednesday in Phoenix … Tyler O’Neill had three hits, two singles and a double, and also drew a walk … Five of the Cardinals’ eight hits went for extra bases, including doubles from Nolan Arenado and Alec Burleson.

On the mound: Mikolas threw just 14 pitches, which could allow for him to come back and start sooner than his next scheduled outing … It was his first career ejection … Hudson worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, before Andrew Suarez gave up three runs in his two innings of work … The final Chicago run came against Drew VerHagen.

Key stat: The win raised Justin Steele’s record against the Cardinals this season to 4-0 in four stars. He allowed seven runs in 24 1/3 innings, an ERA of 2.59. The last pitcher to go 4-0 in four starts against the Cardinals was the Cubs’ Greg Maddux in 1992.

Worth noting: Marmol knows his players read and hear all of the trade rumors that are floating around in advance of Tuesday’s deadline but he said he has not seen it affect their play on the field or their actions in the dugout or the clubhouse. “For the most part they’ve done a really nice job of going out there and playing and not letting it be a distraction,” Marmol said … Tommy Edman, out since July 7 because of a sore wrist, will work out again with the Cardinals before Friday night’s game and if there are no issues will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday night in Memphis … Injured pitchers Ryan Helsley and Jake Woodford are both scheduled to throw bullpen sessions on Saturday in the next step in their recovery.

Looking ahead: Jordan Montgomery is scheduled to get the start on Friday night in the second game of the series.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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