Cubs' ninth-inning rally falls short against Cardinals


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Cubs' ninth-inning rally falls short against Cardinals

CHICAGO -- The Cardinals hit two home runs off former teammate John Lackey and held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Monday evening. This series is critical for St. Louis as they had lost five in a row and started the day 12.5 games behind the Cubs which is the largest lead for the Cubs in their division/league since September 19, 1929.

The Cubs had the winning runs on in the ninth inning but rookie Albert Almora. Jr. got caught trying to steal third on a ball in the dirt. The out was costly as Ben Zobrist then singled which would have tied the game. Cubs still had a chance with a runner at third, but Jason Heyward popped out to end the game.

“I never want to coach the aggressiveness out of that young man," Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said of Almora after the game. "I think he's been playing great. They made a good play."

Lackey (L, 7-3) seem to battle himself and the strike zone all evening but manage to gut out six innings giving up seven hits, three runs and three walks. Jaime Garcia (W, 5-6) got the win for the Cardinals, allowing just two runs in 6 2/3 innings to a Cubs' offense that came into the game red hot.

Cubs rookie Willson Contreras continues to impress. He drove in another run with an RBI single, nailed a base runner trying to steal and made a great tag on a runner trying to score at home to save the Cubs a run. Kris Bryant drove in the other run for the Cubs on a double.

The home plate umpire issued warnings to both teams after Bryant was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. One inning earlier Lackey hit Brandon Moss who homered earlier.

The Cubs were without the services of center fielder and leadoff man Dexter Fowler who was placed on the 15-day disabled list for a sore hamstring earlier in the day. Pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. was called up to take his place.

Game two of the series on Tuesday will feature Jason Hammel (7-2, 2.26) vs. Adam Wainwright (5-4, 4.78) at 7:05 pm CT.

Notes

• Javier Baez (1-for-3, BB) extended his hitting streak to a season-high tying four games (.429/6-for-14) with an infield single in the second.
• The Cubs had their five-game winning streak against division foes snapped, falling to 21-7 vs. the N.L. Central this season.
• Albert Almora (1-for-4, 2B) collected his fifth double in 12 games this season.
• Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3, BB) has hit safely in five-straight games (.471/8-for-17) against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
• Travis Wood (1.0 IP, SO) has not allowed a run at Wrigley Field in his last 11.0 innings of relief (11 appearances).

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