CHICAGO -- When Anthony Rizzo spoke, Tyler Chatwood listened and executed a perfectly timed double play to spark the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Cardinals on Saturday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Wrigley Field.
The game was tied at 1 when the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the fifth against Chatwood. Paul DeJong was up, and Rizzo went to the mound.
"He just told me, 'Hey, you're going to get a 6-4-3 double play right now and then we're going to score some runs next inning, so here you go,'" Chatwood said of Rizzo's message. "Obviously, I got in the way of the 6-4-3 double play and turned it into a 1-2-3. Sure enough, they went in and scored some runs the next inning. It was pretty cool to see that happen."
DeJong hit a comebacker to Chatwood, who initiated the double play. In the Cubs' fifth over a span of four pitches from Cardinals starter Luke Weaver, Jason Heyward, Benjamin Zobrist and Javier Baez rattled off consecutive singles to go ahead, 2-1. Zobrist then scored on Kyle Schwarber's sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.
After the double play, Chatwood was pretty fired up and pumped his arm.
"I haven't had many things go my way lately," Chatwood said. "[DeJong] hit a ball hard off me [his] at-bat before, so any time you can get out of bases loaded, one out with no runs is big. Big momentum going back into dugout as well."
"Big swing [in momentum]. Big swing," Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt said.
"That's the game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the double play. "That's the game changer, that's the seminal moment. Was I anticipating that? No."
Chatwood did walk six to raise his Major League-leading total to 79, and it was the fifth time he's issued at least six walks in a start this season. But he only gave up one hit -- Matt Carpenter's 24th home run -- over 5 1/3 innings.
"I told [Rizzo] when we got back in the dugout, 'That's the kind of captain meeting we needed,'" Zobrist said of the pep talk. "He recognized something needed to be said and he said it. Maybe it helped [Chatwood] turn his attention. [Rizzo] was prophetic in what he called. He said, 'We're going to score a couple runs for you.' I think it was one of the best visits we've had all year."
Baez finished with two RBIs to raise his National League-leading total to 74 and Thomas La Stella drove in two runs for the Cubs, who won for the 14th time in their last 18 games. Chicago out-hit St. Louis, 11-2, sticking to an approach hitting coach Chili Davis has been pushing since late June.
"I think the concept Chili is trying to get across is 'pass it along, pass it along, pass it along,'" Maddon said. "When you understand that, you can have those swarming kind of games. The ball's not in the stands, but it's all over the map. You're putting pressure on the pitcher and the defense, and I'm really pleased with that."
Carpenter, of course, hit a home run. The Cardinals infielder belted one on Thursday and three on Friday and now has homered in five consecutive games. A northerly wind helped keep another fly ball by Carpenter in the seventh in the ballpark, stranding two baserunners.
"It was tough weather conditions to hit the ball out unless your last name is Carpenter," Maddon said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Leadoff man: Leading off for the sixth straight game, Rizzo tripled to open the Cubs first. Ian Happ walked and Rizzo scored when Heyward hit into a double play. Rizzo now is 10-for-23 batting first with five doubles, one triple and one home run. Rizzo was intentionally walked in the second and drew a free pass in the fourth and the eighth innings.
"Right now, he's having a lot of fun with it," Maddon said of Rizzo. "He's into it, and he's doing a great job. I thought about it, and I thought there was no reason to change right now."
Dance partners: Baez tried to keep the Cubs' fifth inning going and score on Victor Caratini's fly ball, but left fielder Marcell Ozuna's throw easily beat him home. Yadier Molina and Baez then played a little game of tag before the Cardinals catcher got him. Baez did add an RBI double in the seventh.
Was Maddon upset that Baez tried to run?
"I told [Baez] when I went out to the mound for a pitching change, 'Man, I would've done the same thing if I was able to run like you,'" Maddon said. "It was the right thing to do."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
After Carpenter homered in the Cardinals' third, Molina smacked a hard-hit ball to left which Baez snared in shallow left and threw off balance to first in time to get the catcher. It was just another great Baez play.
"Part of me just wants to get caught up in it because [Baez] is so much fun to watch, especially the one he bobbled in short left field and still threw Yadi out," said Zobrist, who was at second. "C'mon, that [play] just doesn't happen. You kind of sit back in those moments and try to take it in a little bit before you turn the page. I was talking to [umpire] Teddy Barrett at second base just about how sometimes it's just amazing to stand out there and get to watch that from a few feet away. It's pretty cool."
HE SAID IT
"I thought last year, we grinded to get to that place where we had a good second half. We were exhausted when it came playoff time. I think everybody kind of knew that. This year, it doesn't feel like that. This year, it feels like we have more in the tank. We believe we're going to have a good strong second half, but I think a lot of that has to do with youth." -- Zobrist
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Cubs had a runner at first and one out in the third when Baez bunted to third baseman Greg Garcia, who threw to first. Baez was called safe, but the Cardinals challenged the ruling, and after a review, the call was overturned.