Final #Cubs 5, Cardinals 4
Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant hit back to back homers in the fifth to spark the Cubs to a 5-4 victory Saturday over the Cardinals, and put some pressure on the Pirates in the NL Wild Card race. The Cubs have won 19 of their last 23 home games, and are 36-15 in the last 51 games overall.
Chicago began the season 2-8 in the first 10 meetings against St. Louis; the Cubs now are 6-2 in the last eight with one more game Sunday at Wrigley Field. However, it could be tense. On Friday, a Cardinals pitcher and manager Mike Matheny were tossed after Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch. On Saturday, Hector Rondon and manager Joe Maddon were ejected after Rondon hit pinch-hitter Greg Garcia in the ninth.
“In that situation, you want to finish the game,” Rondon said. “The umpire came to me and said to me, ‘I know it’s not on purpose but you have to go out and take it.'”
*Bryant’s homer gave him 25 for the season, and he now has tied Hall of Famer Billy Williams for the Cubs’ rookie record. Williams hit 25 in 1961.
“Since he came out on the other side from the mid-season when he had a little bit of a struggle, he’s been outstanding,” Maddon said of Bryant. “Great defense, wonderful hitting, one of the best base runners in the National League already. His effort level can’t be any better than it is. He is the rookie of the year.”
*Addison Russell made the play of the game in the ninth when he stopped Stephen Piscotty’s liner, and flipped in time to Javier Baez at second for the force.
“That was a base hit the moment it left the bat,” Maddon said. “He just willed his glove on that ball at the end of it. That would be anticipation, being in the moment, just totally being in focus, not worrying about an at-bat or anything else that happened in the last 24 hours. He was just in that moment and that’s what permitted him to make that play.”
The crowd of 40,994 was loud from start to finish.
“That was the best I’ve ever seen in a baseball game personally,” Bryant said. “They had a little run in the last inning but Addison, I think that’s probably the best play I’ve seen given the circumstances and where we’re at in the season. To sit on the bench for eight innings and then come in and make a play like that, you just can’t make these things up.”
— Carrie Muskat