* Welington Castillo had two hits, including a two-run home run, to snap an 0-for-9 stretch. His three RBI tied a season-high (also April 11 at St. Louis), and his 11 homers and 37 RBI are both career bests.
* Luis Valbuena hit a solo homer in the eighth, his fourth in his last seven games.
* In his Wrigley Field debut, Jorge Soler had two hits, both doubles. He is the third player in the last 100 years to record an extra-base hit in each of his first five career games and the first to do so since Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox in 2012. Soler is the first NL hitter to turn the trick since Enos Slaughter with St. Louis in 1938.
* In his second start since joining the Cubs, Jacob Turner picked up th ewin. He tied a career high with seven strikeouts, and gave up five hits over 6 1/3 innings. It was his third quality start this year and first since May 24.
* Chris Coghlan had two hits, including a double in the third that was his 13th extra-base since Aug. 1. He has 19 doubles since the start of July after tallying just three between May and June.
* Starlin Castro had two hits, and has hit safely in all eight games since returning from the bereavement list, Aug. 26, including four multi-hit efforts.
* The Cubs and Brewers combined for six double-plays (four by Milwaukee).
* Logan Watkins delivered a pinch-hit single in the seventh. In six pinch-hit opportunities, Watkins has three singles.
* Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless ninth to record his ninth-consecutive save and 23rd overall.
* Iowa romped 11-0 over Oklahoma City to finish its season, 74-70. Dae-Eun Rhee tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts over seven shutout innings. David Bote hit a two-run single, and Ryan Kalish and Eli Whiteside each hit two-run doubles. Kalish finished with four hits and three RBIs. Kris Bryant went 1-for-4 with an RBI and team-best three runs scored in his final game. Bryant’s 43 home runs on the season lead all of Minor League baseball. He is vying to become the second Cub in the last four years to accomplish that feat. Bryan LaHair hit a Minor League-best 38 in 2011. This is Iowa’s first winning season since 2010.
* Double-A Tennessee closed its season with a 5-1 loss Monday to Chattanooga. Dustin Geiger drove in the Smokies’ only run in the seventh when he drew a bases-loaded walk.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo did not start for a sixth consecutive day because of lower back tightness and may undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the problem. Rizzo came out of last Tuesday’s game in Cincinnati after his back tightened during a 50-minute rain delay. He has not started any of the Cubs’ next seven games, including either game of a doubleheader Saturday in St. Louis.
“He’s still day to day, he’s still a little stiff,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Monday. “If it doesn’t clear up, maybe we’ll get an MRI to make sure everything’s OK.
“He’s doing fine,” Renteria said. “We’re just limiting him to make sure once he gets back on the field he doesn’t have a setback.”
– Carrie Muskat
Anthony Rizzo missed his sixth straight day Monday, and was not in the Cubs lineup for the series opener against the Brewers. Here’s the lineup for Jorge Soler’s home debut:
Matt Holliday hit a solo homer, an RBI double and a two-run tie-breaking single in the eighth to lead the Cardinals to a 9-6 come from behind victory over the Cubs, who blew a five-run lead Sunday.
Luis Valbuena had three hits and was a triple shy of the cycle, and Arismendy Alcantara added a solo home run for the Cubs, who did finish August with a 16-14 record, their first .500 or better record this calendar month since going 16-13 in August 2011. The last time the Cubs won 17 games in August was 2008 (20-8). But that wasn’t enough to make the Cubs players feel any better.
“There’s nothing positive about losing,” Carlos Villanueva said. “I know what needs to be addressed has already been addressed. We take nothing from this — we take a loss. We’re not happy about it. That’s up to us to do something about it.
“Our goal down the stretch is to break as many hearts as possible,” Villanueva said. “We play a lot of teams that are in contention now, and that’s how we’ll learn to win those games. We have a month left and we’ll see how we do.”
What needed to be addressed were some costly defensive lapses. With one out in the St. Louis fifth inning, center fielder Arismendy Alcantara couldn’t get his glove on Matt Carpenter’s fly ball, which resulted in an RBI double. Carpenter then scored one batter later on Holliday’s RBI double to pull within, 5-4.
Second baseman Javier Baez wasn’t able to get a glove on Molina’s ball with two outs in the seventh, and another run scored to tie the game at 6. Both Alcantara and Baez are rookies, both are new at their positions. But no excuses.
“Those are all tremendously helpful, useful experiences that they’ll be able to use,” Rick Renteria said. “We did everything we could to contain everything. Hey, today, they won out.”
* Travis Wood made his team-leading 28th start. The lefty did not get a decision and gave up four runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs hope first baseman Anthony Rizzo can return to the lineup Monday after missing five days because of tightness in his lower back. Rizzo has not played since he was pulled from last Tuesday’s game in Cincinnati when his back tightned up during a rain delay.
“He’s still day to day,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Sunday. “He came in [Saturday] and wanted to play. We have to make sure we’re prudent and playing this smart. We’ll give him another day and when we get back, we’ll see how he’s doing.”
* Edwin Jackson threw a light bullpen session on Saturday, and the Cubs are continuing to monitor the right-hander’s progress. Jackson has been on the disabled list since Aug. 21 with a right lat strain.
“We’ll continue to monitor and see how he’s doing,” Renteria said. “We haven’t set any hard dates. We’ll see how he progresses and continue to make adjustments.”
* The Cubs have yet to sort out their six-man rotation. Felix Doubront, who picked up the win in his first start with the Cubs on Saturday, will be inserted into the mix for the final month. The Cubs have an off day Thursday, and have yet to announce who will start a three-game series against the Pirates, which opens on Friday at Wrigley Field.
* The Cubs will likely add one relief pitcher on Monday when rosters expand, then call up a few more players once Triple-A Iowa’s season is over. Iowa failed to make the playoffs, and will play its last regular season game Monday against Oklahoma City.
* It isn’t often that a visiting player catches a ceremonial first pitch, but Cubs hitting coach Bill Mueller did just that on Sunday. Mueller was behind the plate to catch a pitch from retiring DeSmet high school coach Greg Vitello. Vitello was Mueller’s coach, and is retiring after 35 years as the baseball coach.
– Carrie Muskat
Travis Wood will start the Cubs series finale against the Cardinals Sunday at Busch Stadium. Here’s the lineup:
* According to Elias, Jorge Soler is the first player in Major League history, since the RBI was invented in 1920, to record an extra base hit and an RBI in each of his first four Major League games.
* Travis Wood is the third left-handed pitcher to start for the Cubs, closing the series Sunday against the Cardinals. It’s the first time they’ve had three consecutive left-handed starting pitchers since Rich Hill, Sean Marshall and Ted Lilly started Aug. 17-18 and August 20, 2007. The Cubs have not started four straight lefties since 1966 (Ken Holtzman, Dave Dowling, Curt Simmons and Dick Ellsworth).
* The Cubs are 16-13 heading into the last day of August, guaranteeing the first .500 or better record this calendar month since going 16-13 in August 2011. The Cubs have reached 17 wins in August just once in the last 20 years (20-8 in 2008).
* Kyle Hendricks leads all NL rookies with four wins and a 1.69 ERA this month. He is one of only three unbeaten NL starters at 4-0 this month (Jeff Locke and Jordan Zimmermann).
* Javier Baez has seven home runs in August, trailing only Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton (eight) for most in the NL this month.
* Hector Rondon has eight saves this month, tied for most in the NL.
* Starlin Castro’s .379 batting average is fourth-best in the NL.
* The Cubs pitching staff have given up four hits or less in seven games in August for the first time in a calendar month since May 2002. The Cubs have only twice in the last 100 years recorded eight games with allowing four hits or less within a calendar month: July 1976 and May 1952.
* Felix Doubront picked up the win in his first game with the Cubs. The lefty gave up one run on seven hits over seven innings in an efficient outing, throwing 89 pitches. He will continue to start as the Cubs go with a six-man rotation.
* Logan Watkins hit his first career home run, and Chris Valaika followed with his second of the season. It’s the eighth time the Cubs have hit back to back homers, and fifth time this month.
* Starlin Castro hit his 14th home run, which matches his personal high set in 2012. He’s batting .379 this month.
Jorge Soler is back in the Cubs lineup for the second game of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader against the Cardinals.