Game number 100 for the Cards offered no shortage of offense in the early going, despite Carlos Beltran getting the day off and David Freese–who left Thursday’s game with an injury– out of the lineup. The visiting Cardinals homered in each of the first five innings off Cubs starter Travis Wood, the first time in their history, pacing their offense in an 8-6 victory. The five home runs were each by different St. Louis players. Lance Lynn struggled for the Cards, giving up 6 earned runs on 8 hits in 5 innings of work but still picked up his 13th win on the season. Wood did not fare much better, allowing 8 runs on 7 hits through 5 innings–as well as the 5 home runs.
On a beautiful 77 degree day in Chicago, with Cardinal red sprinkled around the crowd, the Cubs honored the late Ron Santo with the number 10 cut into the outfield grass, engraved on the bases, sewn on Chicago jerseys, and adorning scoreboards around Wrigley Field.
The long-time rivals traded home run punches in the first two innings. Matt Holliday got the Cards off to a booming start, depositing a Wood fastball deep into the left-center field bleachers in the first inning, his 18th long ball of the season. Holliday added another RBI in the 7th with a single, part of a 3-hit day. The hometown Cubbies answered right back with 3 runs in the bottom of the first. David Dejesus led off with a triple, and after Starlin Castro singled him home, rookie Anthony Rizzo blasted a two-run shot down the right field line for his 6th home run. The Cards did not take long to respond once again, plating 4 runs of their own in the top of the second. Yadier Molina sent his 16th home run of the year onto Waveland Avenue beyond the left field bleachers for a two-run homer, scoring Lance Berkman who had singled to lead off the inning. Following a Matt Carpenter walk, Daniel Descalso tripled him home and soon scored himself on a sac fly by Lynn, giving the visitors a 5-3 lead.
Berkman added a solo shot in the 3rd, picking up career RBI 1,200 and giving the Cards a 3-run lead on their third home run of the day. In the bottom of the third, a Castro leadoff triple, Rizzo single, Alfonso Soriano triple, and Geovany Soto single in succession accounted for three more Chicago runs, re-tying the game at 6.
The track meet began to reach absurd levels in the top of the 4th, as Carpenter led off with another solo shot, followed by an Allen Craig homer in the top of the 5th, setting the St. Louis record. The Cards would tack on another run in the 7th for the final 9-6 tally.
Newly acquired Brian Fuentes made his Cardinals debut, pitching a scoreless 6th inning with two strikeouts, certainly a good sign for an important piece of the bullpen down the stretch. Jon Jay made a spectacular diving play in in the bottom of the 5th, continuing his stellar defensive play, robbing Anthony Rizzo on a long fly ball over his head. Jason Motte closed it out for his 23rd save of the season.
The Cardinals take on the Cubbies on Saturday in the second game of their 3-game set in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Game time is set for 12:05 CT as Joe Kelly (1-3, 2.78 ERA) faces off against Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.25 ERA).