Cubs lay waste to Cardinals with three-homer performance

by - Senior Writer -
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant broke his month-long home-run drought in the blowout win. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant broke his month-long home-run drought in the blowout win. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

ST. LOUIS — The Chicago Cubs (39-27) snapped out of an offensive slump in a big way against the rival St. Louis Cardinals (36-31) on Friday night. After suffering through 20 scoreless innings, including two shutout losses to the Milwaukee Brewers (42-27), the Cubs blasted a pair of home runs in the third inning to incite a rout of Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha.

Tallying seven hits, four walks and nine runs against Wacha, the Cubs jumped out to an early lead and coasted to a 13-5 win. Ian Happ, who made the start in right field for Chicago, started the scoring output for the Cubs with a solo shot to right that led off the third.

Later in the frame, third baseman Kris Bryant blasted a 440-foot bomb to left that scored center fielder Albert Almora, Jr., to put the Cubs ahead 3-0.

In the fourth, the Cubs increased their lead, thanks in large part to a rare error committed by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. On a sacrifice bunt by Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, Molina made an errant throw that enabled Javier Baez to come home. Almora, who went 3-5 with two RBI, then plated Happ with a sacrifice fly.

The Cardinals got a run back in the bottom of the fourth via a solo homer from Marcell Ozuna, but the Cubs scored six runs on five hits in a fifth inning that saw Wacha pulled from the game. Anthony Rizzo, who was a perfect 3-3 with the bat, led off with a ground-rule double to right. Following a walk, Kyle Schwarber drilled a three-run home run to center.

Marking his 12th home run of the season, Schwarber hit the third-longest home run by an opposing player in the history of Busch Stadium. Traveling 465 feet, the moonshot gave the North Siders a dominant 8-1 lead. A few at-bats later, with a man on first, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell smacked an RBI double to left for one of his three hits on the night.

Wacha was finally yanked after that. The Cubs scored all four runs against him in that inning without the Cardinals recording an out. With two outs in the frame, the Cubs tacked on two more runs by way of a one-run double from Almora, Jr., and a one-run single from Bryant. Bryant tallied four RBI in a 2-4 performance. The Cardinals added four runs late in the contest but were unable to overcome the incredible fifth-inning showing by the Cubs' hitters.

Matt Carpenter of St. Louis jacked a solo shot to right-center to make the score 11-2 in the sixth. Both runs allowed by Lester on the evening came on home runs. Lester pitched six innings of five-hit ball to win and move to 8-2. Wacha also became 8-2 with the loss in what served as his most dismal performance in quite some time.

Bryant accrued an RBI on a sacrifice fly that scored Russell in the seventh. The Cardinals scored two runs in the bottom half of the seventh on a one-run single to right-center by Carpenter. Almora, Jr., misplayed the ball, allowing the second run to score on the play, making it 12-4.

Rounding out the scoring action, Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham hit a home run to left to lead off the eighth, and, in the ninth, the Cubs' Chris Gimenez scored Russell on a sacrifice fly. Russell touched home plate three times on the evening.

Garnering 14 hits and five walks, the Cubs experienced one of their best offensive games of the season, despite coming off one of their worst offensive series of the season. Three different Cubs amassed three hits, and seven different Cubs collected at least one RBI. Bryant's home run was his first long ball since May 14, symbolizing the rejuvenation of Chicago's bats in the 13-5 romp.

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