The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 2-1. The win preserves the Cardinals playoff hopes for at least a few hours. The team now turns its attention to the Dodgers game against the Giants, set to begin at 3pm CST. A Dodger win seals the Cardinals’ season.
The Cubs struck first — or, more accurately, the Cardinals defense gifted the Cubs an early lead. With a runner on 1B and 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st, Javier Baez lifted a weak pop up to short RF. Jose Martinez cannot run, and Yairo Munoz is not Kolten Wong. The result was Munoz dropping an over-the-shoulder basket grab, and the runner coming all the way around to score.
It would be the only offense the Cubs would muster all afternoon. Miles Mikolas threw 8 innings of 1-run ball. Using his typically broad mix of breaking balls and 95 mph fastball, he struck out 6, walked none, and got a ton of fly outs on a day when the wind was blowing in at Wrigley Field. He eclipsed 200 innings in the process, qualifying him as a top 10 workhorse in baseball this season.
The Cardinals leveled the score in the 4th. Matt Carpenter received a gift when Cubs starter Cole Hamels missed his spot and catcher Victor Caratini stabbed too far forward to try to catch it. Carpenter swung at the pitch and got a bat full of Caratini’s glove, giving him a free trip to 1B. Jose Martinez then battled Hamels to a full count and drew a walk, and Paul DeJong ripped the Cardinals’ first hit of the game for an RBI single down the LF line.
The Cardinals took the lead an inning later. Harrison Bader started the rally by standing his ground on an inside curveball, and took it off his back foot. With Bader’s speed occupying a percentage of Hamels’ attention, Munoz accepted a 4-pitch walk to move the runner into scoring position. After Mikolas’ bunt attempts failed to advance the runners, Matt Carpenter ripped a go-ahead, RBI single to CF (and was unceremoniously thrown out at 2B trying to advance on Heyward’s throw home.)
Cole Hamels continued to pitch well for the Cubs. Though he took the loss, he still threw 7 innings of 2-run (1 earned) ball, striking out 8, walking 2, and allowing just 3 hits. He identified home plate ump Phil Cuzzi’s wide lefty-strike zone early, and went back to that well often, to great success.
Carlos Martinez closed this win out with a 5-pitch, didn’t-doubt-him-for-a-second 9th inning. He navigated the heart of the Cubs’ offense, getting Ben Zobrist to ground out to SS, Rizzo to ground out to 2B, and Baez to line out to CF.
We now turn out attention out to the east. The Dodgers are starting Clayton Kershaw against Dereck Rodriguez. The Giants counter with their A-squad, and appear to be ready to do their part. Go *checks notes* Gorkys Hernandez.
The Cardinals have Jack Flaherty scheduled to start tomorrow for game 162. He will be opposed by lefty Mike Montgomery. Game starts at 2:20 CST, and can be viewed on FSMW. Pray that it matters.