After their last-chance hopes of making a playoff run were dashed after losses Friday and Saturday to the Cubs (and to be fair, many people’s playoff hopes were dashed months ago), St. Louis had one final game at Wrigley this afternoon.
Here are today’s lineups for the Cardinals and Cubs:
- Brendan Donovan, DH
- Lars Nootbaar, RF
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Tyler O’Neill, LF
- Alec Burleson, 1B
- Ivan Herrera, C
- Dylan Carlson, CF
- Taylor Motter, 2B
- Paul DeJong, SS
Jordan Montgomery - SP
- Nico Hoerner, 2B
- Seiya Suzuki, RF
- Ian Happ, LF
- Cody Bellinger, CF
- Dansby Swanson, SS
- Yan Gomes, DH
- Trey Mancini, 1B
- Miguel Amaya, C
- Patrick Widsom, 3B
Jameson Taillon - SP
The Cardinals came into Wrigley hot on Thursday, but after losing three out of four, there’s little doubt that St. Louis has waved the white flag and will now look forward to 2024. Their biggest rival cooled them off and effectively ended their season this weekend, capping it off by blowing up Jordan Montgomery in his final St. Louis start before he is dealt at next week’s deadline.
Donovan and Nootbaar both grounded out, followed by a single up the middle by Arenado. O’Neill struck out swinging after a seven-pitch at bat.
Montgomery got two quick outs with Hoerner popping out on the infield and Suzuki grounding out, but the Cardinals’ lefty misplayed a comebacker hit by Happ, allowing the Cubs to get a baserunner with two outs. Montgomery was charged with an error, and Bellinger made him pay for it seconds later when he launched a 403-foot two-run homer to straightaway center. It was his 14th homer of the season, and opened the scoring for both teams.
Dansby Swanson flew out to center field to end the first.
After a 10-pitch battle, Burleson eventually grounded out to third base. Herrera popped out in foul territory, and Carlson flew out to center.
A nine-pitch, scoreless second inning for Montgomery. Gomes popped out, Mancini flew out to left, and Amaya popped out on the infield.
Nothing going for St. Louis in the third against Taillon and his nearly-6.00 ERA. The recently-recalled Motter struck out, DeJong grounded out to short, and Donovan grounded out to second.
The Cubs hung a five-spot on Montgomery in the third to go up a touchdown in the third. Patrick Wisdom started it off with a leadoff walk. Hoerner flew out to right, and Suzuki drew a walk as well to put two runners on with one out. Happ singled on a soft fly ball to right field, and both runners were held up — loading the bases for Bellinger.
Bellinger hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Wisdom and making it 3-0 Chicago. Suzuki moved up to third as well.
Swanson then singled off the end of the bat into center field, scoring Suzuki to make it 4-0 Chicago.
Following a mound visit from Dusty Blake, Montgomery’s 0-2 curveball to Gomes caught far too much of the plate, and he wacked it into the left-center field gap for a two-run double to make it 6-0 Chicago.
Mancini followed with an RBI double pulled down the third base line into left field, scoring Gomes to make it 7-0 Chicago.
Amaya grounded out to first base to mercifully end the inning.
Nootbaar flew out to left, and then Arenado singled up the middle for his — and the Cardinals’ — second hit of the game. O’Neill struck out swinging on three pitches, but Burleson kept the inning going with a single up the middle, moving Arenado to third. Ivan Herrera struck out swinging to strand both runners.
Montgomery struck out Wisdom for his first strikeout of the game. Hoerner hit a hustle double into the left-center corner, with Carlson tracking it down and throwing back to the infield just before the ball got to the warning track. Suzuki grounded out to third and Happ grounded out to first to end the inning, with Chicago still up 7-0.
Carlson led off the fifth and continued to make Taillon look like a wizard, striking out swinging on a 2-2, 86 mph cutter on the ninth pitch of the at bat. Motter struck out swinging as well, Taillon’s third consecutive strikeout. DeJong drew a two-out walk, and Donovan smacked a high chopper up the middle that Hoerner was unable to make a play on, putting two on with two outs. Hoerner was charged with an error, although he probably wouldn’t have been able to throw out Donovan or DeJong even if he had gotten to the ball cleanly. Nootbaar grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice at second.
Montgomery returned for the fifth and struck out Bellinger and Swanson, and then Gomes flew out to Nootbaar in right.
Arenado led off the sixth and hit a ball up the middle that Hoerner was (once again) able to get to, but couldn’t get enough on the throw to throw out Arenado, and it went for an infield hit. O’Neill’s frustrating day continued when he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but the Cardinals continued to battle with two outs.
Burleson ripped a 106 mph double off the right field wall, and moved to third on Ivan Herrera’s two-out single to right field. Carlson blooped a single into right field to score Burleson and get St. Louis on the board, 6-1.
David Ross brough in right-hander Micheal Rucker, with Taillon sitting at 109 pitches. Rucker walked Motter to load the bases with two outs, but DeJong grounded into a fielder’s choice out at second base to end the top of the sixth and strand the bases loaded.
Montgomery returned for the sixth and ate up another inning, saving the bullpen for tomorrow night. Mancini flew out to left field, and then Montgomery hit Amaya in the foot with a 1-2 offspeed pitch. But he struck out Wisdom and got Hoerner to strike out to end the sixth.
Montgomery’s final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 7 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 4 K’s (98 pitches)
Taillon’s final line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K’s (109 pitches)
Left-hander Anthony Kay came out of the bullpen in the seventh to face Brendan Donovan, who flew out to right field. Jordan Walker pinch-hit for Lars Nootbaar, who apparently had “heel soreness.” Walker grounded out to third base, and Arenado popped out on the infield for the third out.
Zack Thompson took over in the seventh for Montgomery and pitched a scoreless inning on 14 pitches. Suzuki grounded out to second, Happ struck out, and Bellinger grounded out to second.
Kay walked O’Neill to start the eighth, and then struck out the left-handed swinging Burleson. David Ross then went to the bullpen and brought in Javier Assad to face Herrera.
Assad struck out Herrera, but was also called for a balk during the at-bat, moving O’Neill to second base. Carlson took advantage of that, stroking a base hit to center field to drive in O’Neill, making it 7-2. Motter grounded out after to end the top of the eighth.
Swanson led off the bottom of the eighth with a base hit to center. But Gomes grounded out, Mancini struck out, and Amaya grounded out to end the inning, with the deficit holding at five.
Assad returned for his second inning of work and got DeJong and Donovan both to ground out, and then struck out Walker looking to end the game.
FINAL: Cubs 7, Cardinals 2
St. Louis (44-56) heads out to the desert to take on the upstart D-Backs (54-46) for a three-game series. Adan Wainwright (3-4, 7.66 ERA) makes his first start since he went on the IL on July 5 with a shoulder strain. Arizona had not announced starters for the series as of Sunday afternoon.
First pitch is set for 8:40 p.m.
Around the Central
Reds 7, D-Backs 3
Braves 4, Brewers 2
Angels 2, Pirates 1 - BOT 3