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Starting pitchers: Jake Arrieta (8-0, 1.29 ERA heading into Wednesday) vs. (4-4, 3.56)
Their last starts: Arrieta nabbed his 8th win of the season in San Francisco last Friday, marking 22 straight games that the Cubs had won a game that he started (the last loss in an Arrieta start was July 25 of last season, a 5-0 loss to Philadelphia).
Martinez had his second straight game in which he pitched 5 innings and lost on Friday, taking the decision in an 11-7 loss to Arizona. St. Louis has lost each of the fireballer's last four starts, after winning the opening four.
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The recap: Initially, Wednesday's series finale with the Chicago Cubs was going to be - from the looks of things - a repeat of Tuesday.
The St. Louis Cardinals then rallied, but failed to score with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs... losing a heartbreaker, 9-8.
For the second consecutive game against the Cubs, the Cardinals' starting pitching struggled and gave up 6 runs. A six-run Cub 2nd inning off ofgave St. Louis a 6-1 deficit. Martinez settled down following the outburst, but left after 5 innings and 103 pitches. Jake Arrieta surprisingly battled his way through five innings; the right-hander, who hadn't allowed 4 or more earned runs since June 2015, allowed four runs on seven hits over 93 pitches in his outing.
The contest unexpectedly turned into a slugfest in the 6th, as Kris Bryant and Matt Holliday each had three-run home runs in the inning. The trading of home runs made the game a 9-7 tally; Matt Adams followed with a solo shot in the bottom of the 7th, narrowing the lead to 9-8.
Brandon Moss, a pinch-hitter in the 8th, was in scoring position with two outs following a walk and passed ball, but a Holliday groundout to Anthony Rizzo ended the Cardinal threat in the stanza.
Redbird fans were possibly in for a surprise comeback, as Stephen Piscotty and Adams each singled to put the tying and winning runs on base, but strikeouts by Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk - as well as a groundout back to the pitcher by pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko - ended the rally.
The Cubs have now won 23 straight contests in which Arrieta has started.
With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 24-23 -- 13-15 at home -- and eight games back in the Central.
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Bot 1 - Piscotty single, scoring Diaz -- STL 1, CHC 0
Top 2 - Russell single, scoring Zobrist; Fowler single, scoring Montero; Heyward double, scoring Russell and Fowler; Zobrist single, scoring Heyward and Bryant -- CHC 6, STL 1
Bot 2 - Grichuk solo home run - CHC 6, STL 2
Bot 4 - Adams double, scoring Piscotty; Grichuk single, scoring Adams -- CHC 6, STL 4
Top 6 - Bryant three-run home run -- CHC 9, STL 4
Bot 6 - Holliday three-run home run -- CHC 9. STL 7
Bot 7 - Adams solo home run -- CHC 9, STL 8
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What's on deck: The Cardinals travel to Washington to take on the Nationals for a four-game series. Mike Leake (3-3, 4.07 ERA) takes on right-hander Joe Ross (3-4, 2.70) at 7:05 Eastern / 6:05 Central.
Leake has been dominant over his last three outings, going 3-0 with an ERA of 0.86, while Ross has been the total opposite over his last three (0-3, 5.19).