CHICAGO - David Bote hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh and final inning, Adbert Alzolay pitched five solid innings in his first start of the season, 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.
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 went five innings for St. Louis in his major league debut, giving up two runs and two hits.
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 Kolten Wong scored four runs.
Flaherty threw 41 pitches, walked two and exited with the bases loaded after hitting Nico Hoerner with an 0-2 pitch. Austin Gomber struck out Happ to end that threat and escaped another bases-loaded jam in the third when Jason Kipnis grounded out.
Tyler Webb (1-1) got four outs for the Game 1 win. Baseball’s seven-inning doubleheader format, implemented this season to help teams push through a frequently disrupted 60-game schedule, allowed St. Louis to use four relievers for 1 1/3 innings apiece after Flaherty’s exit. No team has been more disrupted than the Cardinals, who were sidelined for more than two weeks by a COVID-19 outbreak.
John Gant and Ricardo Sánchez finished the game for the Cardinals, with Sánchez allowing the Cubs’ only other hit — Josh Phegley’s two-run homer in the seventh.
Mills lasted lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and seven hits.
“Just one of those days where I didn’t have the feel for much out there,” Mills said. “I wasn’t able to throw many pitches for strikes today. Fastball command wasn’t as good as it has been. Made the wrong pitch to Carpenter. He just hit it out of the yard. He did what he was supposed to, so not good.”
Cardinals: Manger Mike Shildt expects C Yadier Molina to return soon, 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. ... LF Tyler O’Neill started both games after being scratched Tuesday with a hand issue.
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: The Cardinals open a four-game series against Cincinnati on Thursday, with RHP Adam Wainwright (2-0, 1.64 ERA) going against RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.05). 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.