Cubs hit two dingers but fall short to Cardinals
With a solo jack, Javier Baez produced one of two runs scored by the Cubs on the night. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Cubs hit two dingers but fall short to Cardinals

by - Senior Writer -

ST. LOUIS — The Chicago Cubs (60-43) dropped their series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals (52-51) on Friday night. With 47,169 people in attendance, Busch Stadium boasted its highest attendance of the season. Perhaps as a result of the sizable rooting contingent, the Cardinals controlled the game, winning 5-2 after getting to Cubs starting pitcher Mike Montgomery early.

Pounding 12 hits off Montgomery, the Cardinals experienced practically all of their offensive success in the first five innings. Montgomery departed following the fifth frame, and the Cards did not muster another hit or run after that.

Back-to-back extra-base hits in the bottom of the third incited St. Louis. Yadier Molina, who went 3-4 with two runs scored, hit a one-out double and was then plated on an ensuing triple by Paul DeJong. Next, Jose Martinez collected a base knock to score DeJong.

The Cardinals tacked on three more runs via a pair of two-out hits in the succeeding inning. Molina smacked an RBI double to shallow left, and DeJong, who went 3-3 with three RBI, followed that with a two-run single to shallow center. Montgomery received the loss for his five-run performance, dropping him to 3-4.

Cardinals starting pitcher Luke Weaver gave up eight hits in six innings on the hill but performed well with runners on base. Interestingly, like St. Louis, Chicago garnered nearly all of its offensive prosperity against the starter, with all of their hits coming against Weaver. Prior to Friday night, Weaver was 0-3 with a 10.89 ERA against the Cubs in his career. However, after striking out five and giving up just two runs, Weaver collected the win and is now 1-3 lifetime versus the North Siders.

Both of the Cubs' runs were attained via the home-run ball. The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third on a perfect swing by first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The 427-foot dinger served as Rizzo's 14th long ball of the year.

With the Cubs trailing 5-1 in the top of the sixth, middle infielder Javier Baez provided Chicago with a run on a solo blast to center field. Baez sports 20 home runs and 75 RBI on the year, both of which lead the team.

The highlight of the game for the Cubs came in the form of a two-inning relief stint for pitcher Alec Mills. In the wake of the Cole Hamels trade, which sent Eddie Butler to the Texas Rangers (42-62), the Cubs called Mills up from the minors to fill Butler's roster spot, as Hamels is not set to join the Cubs until Sunday. Pitching in the big leagues for the first time since 2016, Mills showed out by going six up, six down and striking out two.

With the 5-2 victory, the Cardinals now lead the season series over the Cubs by a tally of 8-6. The National League Central foes have faced off six times in the last nine days and are set to do battle twice this weekend, as well. Sunday's matchup could be the final Cubs-Cardinals clash at Busch Stadium this year. Chicago and St. Louis will next meet in late September for the final series of the regular season.

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