CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Hendricks went eight innings, and the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs beat the second-place St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Monday.

The Cubs got just the sort of start they needed from Hendricks and closed out the five-game series on a winning note after losing three straight. They lead their longtime rivals by 2 1/2 games.

Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, left, throws to first base after forcing out St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Wieters (32) at second base during the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Hendricks (5-4) gave up a run and seven hits in his second straight win. He also struck out four and walked none in his 38th consecutive start with two walks or less — the most by a Cubs pitcher since at least 1901.

Javier Báez had three singles and scored a run, helping the Cubs earn a split of the 10-game season series against the Cardinals. Jason Kipnis had two hits and drove in a run. Willson Contreras made it 5-0 with a two-run single against Johan Oviedo in the fifth.

Oviedo (0-2) went 4 2/3 innings in his fourth major league start, allowing three earned runs and eight hits.

Catcher Yadier Molina exited in the sixth with a bruised left elbow. Matt Wieters replaced the nine-time All-Star and drove in St. Louis’ lone run with a seventh-inning single. But the Cardinals came up short after matching a season high with three straight wins.

Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ, right, celebrates with teammate Kyle Schwarber, left, after scoring on an Anthony Rizzo groundout during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

CUBS CLAIM HAMILTON

The Cubs claimed outfielder Billy Hamilton off waivers from the New York Mets.

A career .241 hitter with 302 steals over eight seasons with Cincinnati (2013-18), Kansas City (2019), Atlanta (2019) and New York (2020), Hamilton was 1 for 22 before the Mets designated him for assignment on Friday.

The Cubs also added infielder Ildemaro Vargas to the active roster and designated left-hander Matt Dermody for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Austin Dean is available to be recalled from the team’s alternate site if needed, manager Mike Shildt said. Dean tested positive for the coronavirus and has not appeared in a game this season.

Cubs: OF Jason Heyward “seems to be feeling much better” after leaving Sunday’s game because he was feeling lightheaded and having difficulty breathing, manager David Ross said. Heyward was taken to a hospital, though he did not stay overnight, and was scheduled for more tests on Tuesday. Ross would not say what the illness is. “We have had no positive COVID tests, I can tell you that,” he said. … RHP Tyler Chatwood (strained right forearm) started his throwing program Monday, and LHP José Quintana (left lat inflammation) is expected to begin throwing on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martínez (0-1, 14.73 ERA) returns from the coronavirus to start the first game of a doubleheader against Minnesota. His only appearance was against the Twins on July 28. RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-3, 7.82 ERA) likely will be added as the 29th man and start the nightcap, Shildt said. The Twins will go with right-handers Jose Berrios (3-3, 4.29 ERA) in the opener and Randy Dobnak (6-2, 2.72 ERA) in Game 2.

Cubs: RHP Alec Mills (3-3, 5.50) starts as the Cubs open a three-game series against Cincinnati. RHP Tyler Mahle (1-1, 3.90 ERA) pitches for the Reds.

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