CHICAGO -- After winning the first two games of their four-game series against the Cardinals, the Cubs wanted more. But for the second straight game, St. Louis rallied against Chicago's bullpen, sparked by Stephen Piscotty's three-run homer in a five-run eighth inning, to split the series.
Piscotty's homer gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead, and Brandon Moss added a solo shot, both off Héctor Rondón, en route to a 6-4 victory in front of 41,019 at Wrigley Field.
"To be able to go up against these guys and take this game today, it's a big deal for us," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We've been down quite a few times early and guys just keep playing the game. That's something I'm extremely proud of with this club. They don't give in. They don't give up."
St. Louis began the series 12 games back in the Central Division, and that's where they're at after the split. They are, however, still knotted in a tie with the Marlins for the second Wild Card spot.
"Give them credit," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "They put the ball in the stands, they have some power on that team."
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The Cardinals trailed, 3-1, in the eighth but had two on to set up Piscotty, who connected off Rondon in his first appearance since Aug. 2. One out later, Moss added on with his solo shot. St. Louis snapped Chicago's win streak at 11 games on Saturday, and the Cubs now have lost back-to-back games for the first time since July 25-26.
Despite little success against Cubs starter John Lackey, the Cardinals' dugout remained energized. It was catcher Yadier Molina, teammates said afterward, who encouraged the club to continue to show fight. Two innings later, the Cardinals broke through.
"I think we were down 3-1, not much was really going on, but he was vocal," Piscotty said. "Guys were looking to their left, looking to their right and more guys were being vocal. And all of a sudden, we just had this tremendous wave of energy and then had the big inning and we were roaring."
The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo hit a pair of RBI singles and a solo home run, his 25th and first since July 20, and Aroldis Chapman struck out two of three batters he faced in the ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Escape act: Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman cleaned up a seventh-inning mess for starter Mike Leake to prevent the Cubs from expanding what was then a two-run lead. After inheriting two runners and walking the first batter he faced, Bowman didn't let any of the three budge. A fly ball to center by Matt Szczur was not deep enough for Javier Báez to tag and score from third. Bowman then froze Dexter Fowler for a strikeout and induced another flyout to end the threat.
"That was not a great pitch [to Szczur] and he could have punished it, and he didn't," said Bowman, who earned his second career victory. "The fact that that ended up being a shallow flyball was a big deal. And then from there, I knew I was one pitch away. The confidence of getting the first out was big."
Seeking relief: For the second straight game, the Cubs showed how much they miss Pedro Strop, who is sidelined at least four weeks following surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee. On Saturday, Carl Edwards Jr. tried to fill the setup role, and took the loss. Rondon had not pitched in a game since Aug. 2 because of a tightness in his right triceps, and he gave up four runs on four hits in 1/3 of an inning. More >
"A little rust," Maddon said of Rondon, who had thrown one bullpen session since Aug. 2. "His stuff wasn't as crispy as normal. The fastball velocity wasn't up there. He obviously did not throw the ball where he wanted to."
Skid snapped: Cardinals shortstop Greg Garcia ended an 0-for-31 skid with a hard-hit single that ricocheted off the glove of Ben Zobrist and into right field. It was Garcia's first hit since Aug. 3, and he came around to score when Zobrist threw away a ball trying to complete an inning-ending double play. Garcia later laid down an eighth-inning bunt single that put two on base for Piscotty, who followed with a towering, 437-foot home run.
"He gets a big base hit and then after that just a timely play with the bunt," Matheny said. "That's smart to be able to get that go-ahead run up to the plate. I thought he did a nice job all the way around."
Bryzzo: The Cubs didn't waste any time against Leake, who walked Fowler to start the first and then gave up back-to-back singles to Kris Bryant and Rizzo. Fowler scored on the latter, and Bryant then tallied on Zobrist's sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead. Chicago has outscored opponents, 72-45, in the first inning this season. Bryant tripled with one out in the sixth, and scored on Rizzo's second hit of the game. Add his leadoff homer in the eighth, and Rizzo now has 85 RBIs for the season.
However, the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, and couldn't come through.
"Offensively, we do need to do better in those particular moments and get those add on runs on later in the game," Maddon said. "That was a big moment, bases loaded nobody out and they got out of it."
"Coming in, we could have cared less that they were hot, honestly. It's Cardinals-Cubs. Anything can happen. I think we showed that." -- Piscotty, on snapping Chicago's 11-game winning streak and securing a series split
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Twelve of the 19 runs the Cardinals scored in this series came in the eighth inning. They have now outscored opponents, 77-34, in the eighth this season. More >
Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist was pulled while facing Addison Russell in the eighth inning due to left arm soreness. Molina noticed Siegrist shaking his left arm after his eighth pitch and summoned a trainer to the mound. Matheny described the decision to remove Siegrist as precautionary. Seunghwan Oh replaced the lefty and notched the first five-out save of his Major League career. More >
"I was shaking my arm out a little bit, really trying to get it going," Siegrist said. "More of a deadish feeling. It's been hard coming back from being on the DL and trying to get my arm back in shape. Today it wasn't feeling very good."
Lackey was lifted after throwing his 106th pitch during the middle of an at-bat against Randal Grichuk in the seventh because his right shoulder stiffened. The count was 2-2, and Justin Grimm took over, threw one pitch, and struck Grichuk out. More >
"I'm OK," said Lackey, who warmed up Thursday in case he was needed in an extra-inning game. "Nothing crazy -- I've been out there feeling a lot worse."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals used a challenge unsuccessfully in the seventh inning by trying to erase Jason Heyward's infield single. First-base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled that Heyward beat out a throw from third baseman Jhonny Peralta, and the call stood following a three-minute, 15-second review. The result put runners on first and third for the Cubs with no outs. However, the Cubs did not end up scoring.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will spend a day off in Houston on Monday before opening a two-game series against the Astros. First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT. Jaime García, who has finished eight innings in each of his last two outings, will start for the Cardinals against Houston's Dallas Keuchel.
Cubs: After an off-day Monday, the Cubs will open a series against the Brewers, beginning with a day-night doubleheader Tuesday. In the first game, which begins at 12:20 p.m. CT, Trevor Cahill will make his first start of the season and first since April 26 when he was with the Braves. Jason Hammel will start the second game, which will begin at 7:05 p.m. CT. Hammel is 7-1 with a 1.99 ERA in 11 home starts.
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