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Cards Outlast Lackey, Win on First Career Walkoff by Grichuk

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HRs by Adams and Grichuk lift Cardinals over Cubs in series opener

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals strike first and take the first game in the series against the Chicago Cubs.

Adam Wainwright didn't look like vintage Waino, but he looked a bit better than his final line of 6 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K.  The strikezone was not particularly consistent, as seen below, which did not help matters in the early going:

Despite the overall line, there was a lot to see promise in for Wainwright this start.  His breaking ball is starting to break more, pitches are staying down, and he overall looked sharper. The two singles in the first and second (to Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero, respectively) were at least somewhat products of a modified shift.  Wainwright also struck out Lackey on a pitch with some interesting lateral movement -

gif credit to @VanHicklestein

John Lackey was dealing through his first six innings.  After Carpenter led off the game with a sharp groundout, Lackey struck out the next 5 Cardinal batters.  The Cardinals would break through a bit in the third, starting with a sharp single by Randal Grichuk.  After Kolten Wong was hit by a pitch, Wainwright laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Matt Carpenter walked to load the bases, Aledmys Diaz came through with a sacrifice fly for the first run of the night.

Pitchers are starting to noticeably adapt to Aledmys Diaz, consistently throwing the ball low and away to him to try to sap his power by hitting the ball to right.  His zone profile for the month of May:

The fourth inning was a bit of a mess for the Cardinals.  Montero got his second hit of the night to score Zobrist, but when Javier Baez dropped a bunt on the next AB that was easily fielded by Molina, no one was covering first, allowing Baez to reach base safely.  The Cubs would then go on to score an additional run on a ground out by Addison Russell.  The Cubs would follow that up the next inning with an RBI single by Anthony Rizzo (who was sitting on a 1 for 27 streak going into that AB).

The fireworks would go off for the Cardinals in the 7th, however, as Matt Adams would come in as a pinch hitter and drive a 2 run bomb to center.  Dan McLaughlin dropped the interesting tidbit that teams are shifting 75% of the time, although 68% of his hits this season are to center and left.

Though the Cubs attempted to make things interesting against Trevor Rosenthal in the 9th (correctly deployed by Matheny!), with two singles by Dexter Fowler and Zobrist, Anthony Rizzo lined into an amazing unassisted double play by Matt Carpenter to end the threat.

And finally, the moment we were all waiting for:  with 2 outs in the 9th, Randal Grichuk hit a walkoff solo shot!   Spike the helmet, get the water thrown on you, the whole 9 yards.

Notes:  Seung-Hwan Oh had another scoreless outing, and has quickly become one of the brightest spots in a bullpen that is pretty uniformly strong.  Matt Carpenter didn't have the only defensive gem of the night - check out Stephen Piscotty robbing Dexter Fowler:

Cards and Cubs do it again tomorrow night.