CHICAGO (AP) — David Bote hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh and final inning, Adbert Alzolay pitched five solid innings in his season debut, and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 on Wednesday night to split a doubleheader.
St. Louis’ Brad Miller hit a tying RBI single in the bottom of the sixth against Jeremy Jeffress (2-1). But the Cubs quickly answered.
Playing as the visitor in the nightcap because the game was a makeup from a postponed series in St. Louis from earlier this month, the Cubs loaded the bases against Andrew Miller (0-1) on singles by Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Nico Hoerner with one out. Bote, whose pinch-hit, hit three-run homer won the second game of Monday’s doubleheader, then lined a single to center against Giovanny Gallegos, making it 4-2 and propelling the Cubs to their third win in four games.
“You try to create that mentality throughout the entire game, taking each at-bat as an important at-bat,” Bote said. “Each pitch as an important pitch. As (hitting coach Anthony Iapoce) has always said, every at-bat’s a life-changing at-bat. You kind of have to approach it in that sense.”
Craig Kimbrel, who lost the closer’s job after a shaky start to the season, worked the seventh for his first save. He struck out Kolten Wong after hitting Tommy Edman with two out to close out an unusual five-game, three-day series.
In the opener, Matt Carpenter belted a first-inning grand slam and the Cardinals beat the Cubs 9-3. St. Louis held Chicago to two hits in the seven-inning game even though shaky starter Jack Flaherty only recorded five outs.
Alzolay gave the Cubs what they were looking for in his third major league start, holding the reigning division champions to an unearned run and two hits. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out six and walked one after being called up from Chicago’s alternate site in South Bend, Indiana.
Johan Oviedo made an impressive major league debut for St. Louis a day after he found out he was being called up. He went five innings, giving up two runs and two hits.
“Yesterday I was sleeping, we’ve got a day off from the schedule, the team was calling me and I had my phone on Do Not Disturb,” Oviedo said. “They go to my room and knock on the door, come to me and say, ‘You’re going to the big leagues.’ …. I was like, ‘What? What did you say?’”
Flaherty gave up a leadoff homer to Ian Happ in the first game, his first start since a season-opening win over Pittsburgh.
The right-hander struggled to locate his fastball and issued what he described as “pretty out-of-character walks.” But he got plenty of help.
Carpenter drove a rope to center in the first against Alec Mills (2-2) for his second career grand slam. Tommy Edman had three hits and Wong scored four runs.
Flaherty threw 41 pitches, walked two and exited with the bases loaded after hitting Hoerner with an 0-2 pitch. Austin Gomber struck out Happ to end that threat and escaped another bases-loaded jam in the third. Tyler Webb (1-1) got four outs for the Game 1 win.
Mills lasted lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and seven hits.
Cardinals: Manger Mike Shildt said C Yadier Molina could return as soon as Thursday against Cincinnati, while INF Paul DeJong might need more time. Both players, along with INF Rangel Ravelo and RHP Kodi Whitley, have been working out after being cleared by Major League Baseball. All four were sidelined by COVID-19. Shildt said Molina was asymptomatic.
Cubs: 3B Kris Bryant missed his third consecutive game after getting an injection Tuesday for his ailing left wrist. The 2016 NL MVP was hurt on a diving attempt on César Hernández’s flare to left field in the fifth inning of a 7-2 victory at Cleveland last week. … LHP José Quintana (thumb surgery) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Friday.
The Cardinals activated LHP Gomber from the injured list prior to Game 1 and optioned RHP Ryan Meisinger to their alternate training site. Gomber was placed on the IL because of a potential concern in contact tracing, though he did not test positive for the coronavirus.
Cardinals: Open a 12-game homestand, with RHP Adam Wainwright (2-0, 1.64 ERA) going against RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.05) of the Reds. Wainwright got the win in the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader against the White Sox — the Cardinals’ first game since July 29.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (2-0, 2.74) gets the ball as the Cubs open a three-game series against the crosstown White Sox at Wrigley Field on Friday. LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 3.07) starts for the South Siders.
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