Cubs’ Bullpen Implodes In 11-4 Loss To Cardinals

CHICAGO (AP) — Paul DeJong hit a tiebreaking two-run double in St. Louis’ nine-run eighth inning, and the Cardinals cooled off the Chicago Cubs with an 11-4 victory on Friday.

Chicago carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth, looking for its seventh consecutive win. But St. Louis sent 14 batters to the plate in its highest-scoring inning of the season, taking advantage of a combined six walks by three relievers while improving to 4-4 since the All-Star break.

Carl Edwards Jr. (3-2) was pulled after the first three batters reached. Hector Rondon then walked Jedd Gyorko, tying it at 3, and DeJong followed with a drive into the ivy in right-center for a ground-rule double.

The Cardinals were off and running from there. Carson Kelly hit a two-run double in his first game since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Tommy Pham’s two-run single made it 11-3 before Dexter Fowler bounced into a double play, ending a string of 11 consecutive batters reaching safely to begin the inning.

When DeJong struck out swinging with runners on second and third for the final out, the crowd of 42,186 cheered sarcastically.

Willson Contreras hit a two-run homer for Chicago, and Ben Zobrist had three hits. Jake Arrieta pitched six effective innings, allowing two runs and five hits.

The Cubs played without third baseman Kris Bryant, who sprained his left little finger on a headfirst slide in the first inning of Chicago’s 8-2 victory at Atlanta on Wednesday. X-rays were negative, but Bryant is experiencing soreness and there is some concern about gripping a bat.

Fowler had three hits for St. Louis, which was coming off a tough 3-2 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday. Randal Grichuk homered in his return from a lower back injury, and Matt Bowman (2-3) got the final out of the seventh for the win.

Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez allowed a season-high 10 hits in six innings, but was charged with just two earned runs on Contreras’ 14th homer in the first inning. Arrieta’s leadoff grounder in the fifth went right through shortstop DeJong’s legs for an error, helping set up Anthony Rizzo’s tiebreaking RBI single.

TRADING PLACES

St. Louis acquired minor league outfielder Tyler O’Neill in a trade with Seattle for left-hander Marco Gonzales. O’Neill, a third-round pick in the 2013 draft, hit .244 with 19 homers and 56 RBIs in 93 games with Triple-A Tacoma. He will report to Memphis.

“This is a player that has a lot of offensive upside,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “At 22, he has accomplished a lot already at Triple A. So, for us, it just adds to our offensive depth.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: Grichuk and LHP Zach Duke were activated from the disabled list for the series opener. The 34-year-old Duke, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery last October, retired the only two batters he faced in the seventh. … All-Star C Yadier Molina was scratched with right ankle discomfort. He was available off the bench, but didn’t play. Kelly replaced him in the lineup. … OF Jose Martinez was struck by teammate Matt Carpenter’s eighth-inning foul ball while he was sitting in the dugout. He was taken back to the clubhouse.

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (right hand tendinitis) is on track to return to the rotation early next week, but manager Joe Maddon wasn’t ready to provide an exact day just yet. “He’s there. He’s ready to rock and roll,” Maddon said.

UP NEXT

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (11-5, 5.08 ERA) and Cubs left-hander Jon Lester (6-6, 4.07 ERA) start the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon. Wainwright is 4-0 with a 4.18 ERA in his last four starts. Lester pitched seven crisp innings in a 4-3 victory at Atlanta on Monday night.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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