A solid win for the Cubs, end to end, especially after a disappointing weekend series at Wrigley Field.
John Lackey absolutely dominated in his return to Busch Stadium, and he’ll get a whole lot more love soon.
One bit to note: as the Cubs were struggling to get a run on the board, the Cardinals were in business in the fifth after a single and a double at the bottom of the order with one out. But Mike Leake whiffed on a suicide squeeze bunt attempt, and the runner on third was hung out to dry. Miguel Montero ran the runner back to third, made the throw for the out, but because he’d waited until the last second to throw, there was confusion at third on who should receive the throw, Kris Bryant grabbed it with no chance to make a tag. It felt like one of those times you were about to feel the pangs of regret.
But Lackey went on to strike out Leake and then struck out Matt Carpenter on a couple really nasty pitches that were either hard, diving changeups or slow sinkers. It was awesome. He put in two more scoreless innings – and drove in a run – and his night was done.
It took a little while for the bats to get clicking, but they started pushing runs across in the middle innings, jumpstarted by a long homer from Dexter Fowler.
The Cubs were hitting rockets all night with not a ton to show for it (as Michael noted here, and may get into some more tomorrow), and the worst victim may have been Jorge Soler, who hit a 111mph shot to center, but right at the center fielder, and then he hit a 115mph bullet right of the shortstop, who couldn’t handle it, and then threw it away for an error. Probably could’ve credited Soler with a hit on that one.
Jason Heyward had a tough night in that regard, too, three times hitting 100+mph ropes that were caught. He returned the favor with several great catches in right field.
All in all, a great night for the Cubs in St. Louis.