Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Cubs 0

Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Cubs 0

By Rob Rains

As the Cardinals made their first roster moves with 2024 in mind on Sunday, Steven Matz was making his own move.

Matz showed that he very much wants to be a part of the Cardinals starting rotation in 2024 by throwing six shutout innings as they salvaged the final game of the four-game series against the Cubs at Busch Stadium.

He allowed four hits and did not walk a batter in winning for only the second time this season as he extended his scoreless streak to 13 consecutive innings.

In his five starts in July, Matz allowed a total of five earned runs in 26 2/3 innings, an ERA of 1.69.

The win broke a six-game losing streak against the Cubs.

During the game, the Cardinals traded closer Jordan Hicks to Toronto and pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton, all potential free agents at the end of the season, to Texas.

Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals gave Matz an early lead by scoring all of their runs in the first two innings. Tyler O’Neill delivered an RBI single in the first inning and the Cardinals bunched four singles to score two runs in the second, with Andrew Knizner and Paul Goldschmidt getting the RBIs … The Cardinals had only three baserunners the rest of the game, another single by Knizner in the fourth, a double by Alec Burleson in the sixth and a walk to O’Neill in the eighth.

On the mound: Matz recorded only two strikeouts among his 18 outs but also allowed only one runner to reach second base, when the Cubs got two of their hits in the second inning. Matz retired 13 of 14 hitters between the second and sixth innings … Giovanny Gallegos retired all six hitters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings before JoJo Romero pitched around a two-out double in the ninth to earn his first career save.

Key stat: The run in the first inning marked the first time the Cardinals had scored in the opening inning against Kyle Hendricks in 14 starts dating back to 2018.

Worth noting: Nolan Gorman was a late scratch from the Cardinals lineup because of back tightness, a problem that has bothered him off-and-on this season … The Cardinals finished July with a 14-13 record for the month … In his second game at Memphis on his rehab assignment, playing center field, Tommy Edman had a single in three at-bats. He is expected to rejoin the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Looking ahead: After ending their stretch of 17 games in 17 days, the Cardinals will get Monday off before the Twins arrive on Tuesday to begin a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

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.