After taking two of three from the Buccos at PNC Park last week, the Cubs headed into a rivalry showdown against the Cardinals with a 3.5 game lead in the division. Here is a breakdown of the scores from this Labor Day weekend series:
- Friday, September 4th: Cubs 4, Cardinals 1
- Saturday, September 5th (Game 1 of DH): Cardinals 4, Cubs 2 (F/7)
- Saturday, September 5th (Game 2 of DH): Cardinals 5, Cubs 1 (F/7)
- Sunday, September 6nd: Cardinals 7 Cubs 3
- Monday, September 7th: Cubs 5, Cardinals 1
Game one of this series saw each team's ace take the mound as Yu Darvish and Jack Flaherty mounted the rubber for their respective clubs. And once again, the story was Darvish.
Yu further cemented his status as a National League Cy Young Award favorite. Darvish pitched seven strong innings, striking out 11 batters and giving up only one hit, a Matt Carpenter home run.
The Japanese ace also was perfect through five innings before the Carpenter home run.
Yu kept his streak of walking two or fewer batters in a start as he did not allow a free pass to a single Cardinal on the night, which helped lower his WHIP to 0.88. A key to his location has been first-pitch strikes, where 17 of the 22 batters he faced saw a strike on the first pitch.
Offensively, Willson Contreras led the way from the DH spot, going 3-4 with 4 RBI, including a sixth-inning home run.
Rowan Wick and Jeremy Jeffress finished things off in the eighth and ninth innings for the Cubs to take the series opener.
In the first game of the seven-inning doubleheader, Albert Alzolay took the mound for the Cubs, as the ageless wonder that is Adam Wainwright did the same for the Redbirds. It was Wainwright who came out on top in this one.
The veteran nearly went the distance, throwing 6.1 innings and allowing only two runs and six hits while striking out six Cubs batters. Ian Happ continued his torrid start against the right-hander, hitting two home runs against him. Happ is 8-for-14 with four homers against Wainwright in his career.
Besides Happ, however, the Cubs offense didn't do much else as the team managed to get only four more hits throughout the rest of the ballgame. With the win, Wainwright improved to 4-0 for the first time in his career.
The Cubs hoped to bounce back in the second game of the doubleheader. Colin Rea started the game for the Cubs in what was meant to be a bullpen day. Austin Gomber did the same for the Cardinals.
Rea struggled mightily as he was charged with the loss. Trouble started in the second inning as Paul DeJong and Tyler O'Neill both homered in the frame. That was all the Cardinals needed.
In total, five Cardinals relievers held the Cubs to just three hits on the night while striking out eight. The Cubs also left a whopping 17 men on base, a series-high.
Ryan Helsley ended up getting the win for the Cardinals, his first of the season.
After getting swept in a doubleheader by the Cardinals for the first time since 2002, the Cubs looked to Jon Lester and Co. to stop the bleeding. Dakota Hudson started for the Cardinals.
The game started off well for the North Siders as Cubs scored three runs in the first two innings to gain a 3-1 lead.
However, the wind was blowing out and the Cardinals offense took full advantage.
Paul Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer off of Lester in the third inning to give the Cardinals a 4-3 lead, one they would never relinquish. Harrison Bader was the other star for the Cardinals' offense as he contributed by getting on base four times, including two doubles and a single.
Lester only completed 3.1 innings, giving up two homers, six hits, and five runs. Hudson settled in nicely finishing with five innings pitched, giving up three runs and striking out four.
Cubs Salvage Season Series Split
The last game of the series proved to be an important one. It was the last regular-season contest between the two teams in 2020. Additionally, the Cubs had a chance to extend the division lead to 2.5 games or allow the Cardinals to creep within a half-game of the division lead.
Kyle Hendricks took the ball for the Cubs and he did not disappoint. Tossing one of his best games of the season, Hendricks continuously moved locations of his deadly changeup and even reached back to deliver a fastball at 90 MPH!
He also extended a unique franchise record by completing his 38th consecutive start in which he allowed two or fewer walks.
The Cubs offense did its job, scoring in three of the first four innings. And with the wind blowing in, the offense was forced to play small ball instead of relying on home runs.
Ian Happ continued his great play in the leadoff spot by walking three times. Rizzo and Kipnis delivered RBIs along with Willson Contreras, who knocked in two runs with this single down the left-field line.
Hendricks ended up pitching eight innings, giving up seven hits and one run while not walking a single Cardinal batter. Rowan Wick finished the game off with a perfect ninth as the Cubs and Cardinals split their season series at five games apiece.
What's On Tap Next?
The Cubs host the Reds for the first time this season as Cincy enters the Friendly Confines for a three-game set against the Cubs.
- Tuesday, September 8th: Tyler Mahle (1-1, 3.90 ERA) vs. Alec Mills (3-3, 5.50 ERA)
- Wednesday, September 9th: Trevor Bauer (3-3, 2.05 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (7-1, 1.44 ERA)
- Thursday, September 10th: Sonny Gray (5-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Albert Alzolay (0-1, 2.08 ERA)
For postgame reactions and analysis, be sure to tune in to the Cubs On Tap podcast on all major platforms.