The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Chicago Cubs on Friday night by a score of 4-1. Despite a 38-54 record, the Cubs had been winners of 14 of their last 19 games, and with Ryan Dempster (5-4) on the mound, this was not going to be an easy game to rebound with after a disappointing 1-5 road trip.

Fortunately for the Cards, they scored three early runs off Dempster in the first inning, breaking a 33 inning scoreless streak from the pitcher, and never looked back. Most notable was an extraordinarily long home run by Matt Holliday, who was back in the starting lineup after being struck in the knee on Tuesday night.

Even more importantly, after going 8-for-51 (.157) on the most recent road trip with runners in scoring position, the Cards managed to get a couple of timely hits from Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina to get the positive start to this homestand that this team very badly needed.

“I don’t think these guys are doubting themselves (about) being able to do it,” manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s something we’re going to continue to work on. I know these guys know we can do better than what we’re doing as far as production in those situations.”

Once Lohse left the game in the eighth inning, relievers Mitchell Boggs, Marc Rsecepzynski, and Jason Motte held down the Cubs to improve the Cardinals’ record to 48-45 on the season. They currently stand at third place in the National League Central and remaining five games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

What’s Next: The Cardinals try to seal their first series victory of the second half on Saturday night when Matt Garza (5-7) takes on Jake Westbrook (7-8). The game begins at 6:15 CST and can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest. Be sure to look out for our pitching preview on Saturday. Let’s Go Cards.