ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ian Happ said he was being “selectively aggressive" with the game on the line.
The Chicago outfielder triggered a six-run rally in the ninth inning, and the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-6 in a matchup of NL Central rivals.
Chicago snapped a two-game losing streak by rallying against St. Louis closer Alex Reyes, who converted his first 22 saves opportunities this season.
Javier Baez added a two-run hit in the middle of the rally.
Chicago sent 10 batters to the plate in the ninth and capitalized on three walks, an error and a missed third strike.
Baez trimmed the deficit to 6-5 with a two-run single off Reyes, Happ followed with a two-run double to put his team up 7-6.
“I'm just trying to have fun, play this game and enjoy it,” Happ said. “For me personally, that was a really enjoyable moment. It was just fun to be able to come through in that situation."
Chicago manager David Ross was pleased with the resiliency his team showed down the stretch.
“They don't stop competing, there's no give up," Ross said. "When things haven't been going their way, it would be easy to kind of cash in, especially in a game like that. The fact that the guys hustled, and got down the line, pressured the defense, there were a lot of little things that make you happy.”
Nolan Arenado, Jose Rondon and Tommy Edman homered for St. Louis, which had won three in a row.
Craig Kimbrel picked up his 22nd save in 24 opportunities. He set the side down in order in the ninth and fanned Paul Goldschmidt to end the game.
Dillon Maples (1-0) picked up the win with a scoreless inning.
Reyes (5-4) gave up three runs on two hits.
The Cubs entered the ninth inning with just three hits. Patrick Wisdom reached safely on a wild-pitch third strike to kick-start the comeback. Sergio Alcantara and Anthony Rizzo drew bases-loaded walks to trim the deficit to 6-3 and set the stage for Happ's heroics.
“I've grinded a lot this year,” Happ said. “And haven't really had a lot of moments like that.”
St. Louis starter Johan Oviedo was looking for his first win in 17 career starts. He allowed one run on three hits over five-plus innings. The Cuban-born right-hander struck out five and walked one. He was removed after giving up a leadoff single to Baez to begin the sixth
“He earned (a win),” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. "He was really good. "
Arenado put St. Louis in front 2-1 with his team-leading 18th homer of the season in the fourth off Trevor Williams, who surrendered four runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked one in his first start since May 26 after battling appendicitis issues.
St. Louis scored three times in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. Harrison Bader doubled in Yadier Molina and Oviedo followed with a run-scoring single up the middle.
Edman and Rondon homered in sixth off reliever Rex Brothers.
Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the seventh. It is the longest streak by a St. Louis player since Molina hit safely in 16 games from April 9-29, 2019.
Chicago outfielder Kris Bryant was removed in the fifth inning with a right hamstring issue. He made a diving catch of a liner by Paul DeJong in the third.
The injury is not believed to be serious.
“He feels great, he feels fine,” Ross said.
COACH OF MANY SKILLS
University of Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz threw out the first pitch before the contest. His toss from the mound was high and inside. In his first season, Drinkwitz guided the Tigers to a 5-5 record last fall, including a win over then-defending national champion LSU.
Cubs: INF Nico Hoerner was back in the lineup on Tuesday after a day of rest due to a hamstring issue.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas threw a 60-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and will likely go out on a rehab assignment this weekend. Mikolas has been out since May 23 with right forearm tightness.
Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks (12-4, 3.65 ERA) will face RHP Adam Wainwright (7-6, 3.71) in the third game of the four-game set on Wednesday. Hendricks has won his last 10 decisions and has gone at least six innings in each of his last 12 starts. Wainwright has recorded 17 career wins against the Cubs, the most of any active pitcher.