(BaseballStL) — After a scoreless ninth from both clubs, the Cardinals went down in order in the 10th. Matt Holliday struck out on high heat, sending the Cubs to the plate with a chance to win.
Pat Neshek, on for his second inning of work, picked up a quick strikeout of Javier Baez. Anthony Rizzo came within feet of a walk off homer, but settled for a double when his shot bounced short and landed in the ivy.
Jorge Soler moved him to third when he hit a grounder off the end of the bat to first for the second out, leaving things up to Luis Valbuena.
After a visit from the pitching coach, Neshek intentionally walked Valbuena, bringing up Welington Castillo.
The catcher came through, hitting a ball into the right center gap to score the winning run. The Cubs win 4-2 and the Cardinals’ lead in the division shrinks to 1.5 with the magic number still at four.
High pressure Martinez
Randy Choate took care of Anthony Rizzo in the bottom of the inning, getting the slugger to fly out to left.
Carlos Martinez came in, but gave up a double to Jorge Soler. He walked the next batter intentionally, putting two on with on out.
He would take care of the rest of the inning quickly, striking out one batter and getting the next to ground out softly to second.
90 feet away
Matt Holliday nearly gave the Cardinals the lead in the eighth, but ended up 90 feet short of home.
After leading off the inning with a double, he moved to third when Pedro Strop threw a wild pitch. Matt Adams had grounded out to third beforehand, and Jhonny Peralta struck out to make it two outs. Yadier Molina grounded sharply to third to end the inning, stranding Holliday and keeping the game tied.
Oscar Taveras, double-switched into the game when Miller was pulled, began the sixth with a single into center.
Matt Carpenter followed with one of his own, and when Arismendy Alcantara bobbled it, Taveras took third.
Jon Jay pulled a ball toward right, but a diving stop prevented the hit. It was enough to score a run, however and the Cardinals pulled to 3-1 with Carpenter on second.
Matt Holliday tied the game with his 20th homer of the year on the next at-bat, sending a ball screaming into left field with two strikes.
It was the ninth consecutive year he’s hit 20 or more homers, and this one pushed Kendricks from the game.
The hits kept coming, as Matt Adams picked up a single into right. Jhonny Peralta hit a high fly ball to right for the second out, but Molina punched another ball out of the infield to put two on for pinch hitter Daniel Descalso. He flew out deep to center, ending the scoring.
The Cubs, tired of being struck out, struck another blow in the fifth.
Matt Szczur hit his second home run of the season to lead off the inning, lining a ball just over the basket in left.
Kyle Hendricks singled behind him for the fifth Chicago hit, getting back to the top of the order. A fly ball followed, but when Miller walked Javier Baez to put two on, Mike Matheny had seen enough.
The manager went to Tyler Lyons to end the jam, ending Miller’s outing at 4.1 innings and 85 pitches.
Oscar Taveras came in to right field as part of the move as well.
Lyons made quick work of the last two outs, keeping the score at 3-0.
Despite two runs, Miller has been rolling through the Cubs through four innings.
He struck out eight of the first 12 outs, setting his season high. The Cubs have three hits in four innings, one of which the go-ahead homer.
A close call
Randal Grichuk nearly got a run back for the Cardinals, hammering a ball off the left field wall. He settled for a stand-up double, and moved to third when Kolten Wong grounded out to second.
Miller struck out, but Carpenter walked to make it first and third. Jay would close things down with a groundout to Rizzo, stranding both.
Cubs take the lead
The second inning belonged to Chicago as Welington Castillo but the Cubs ahead with a two-run shot.
Miller walked Luis Valbuena to open the inning, and when he left a fastball up in the zone Castillo sent it over the wall in left.
That would be the extent of the damage, but the Birds head to the third trailing 2-0.
Miller mows down Cubs
A scoreless inning began the action in Chicago.
Matt Carpenter got on to start the game, but a double play from Jon Jay followed. From there, Matt Holliday went down on strikes.
It wouldn’t matter much, as Shelby Miller struck out the side in the first. He allowed a single with two outs, but got Jorge Soler on his 18th pitch to end the frame.