CHICAGO - The surging St. Louis Cardinals soared to their 13th straight win Friday, using homers by Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill to top the Chicago Cubs 8-5 in the opener of a doubleheader.
It’s the longest win streak for St. Louis since it set a team record with 14 in a row in 1935. It also has rocketed the Cards into control of the second NL wild card, leading Philadelphia by 4 1/2 games heading into Friday’s action.
St. Louis also got a pinch-hit homer from José Rondón, and leadoff man Tommy Edman finished with three hits. Alex Reyes (10-8) got five outs for the win, and Giovanny Gallegos tossed a perfect seventh for his 13th save.
"We’re just playing baseball," manager Mike Shildt said "We’re just going out and everyone is doing everything we can do win in the moment."
Sergio Alcántara homered for Chicago, which lost for the seventh time in eight games. Austin Romine doubled home two runs, and Willson Contreras also had an RBI double.
The Cubs scored five times in the sixth after Reyes struck out the first two batters. But T.J. McFarland got Frank Schwindel to line out, ending the inning.
Goldschmidt hit his 30th homer in the third, a two-run shot to left off Justin Steele (3-4). The slugging first baseman has four homers and eight RBIs in his last three games.
Rondón and O’Neill each connected for a two-run shot in the fifth. Rondón got the rally rolling when he hit for starter J.A. Happ after Harrison Bader doubled for his 300th career hit. O’Neill’s 30th homer of the season reached Waveland Avenue,
Goldschmidt and O’Neill joined Cardinals third-baseman Nolan Arenado with 30 or more homers. St. Louis hasn’t had three hitters with 30 or more since 2004, and the long ball threat from the middle of the Cardinals’ order has been a big reason for their run, Shildt said.
"Its a tremendous presence with that trio in the heart of the lineup," Shildt said. "There’s nowhere to hide. Eddie (Edman) is great at setting the table and they’re all eating."
Steele was charged with six runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked two in his eighth career start.
"I think he just ran out of steam," manager David Ross said. "I thought the first four innings were pretty darned good."
Happ allowed two hits in four innings The veteran left-hander struck out six, but walked four.
Happ appreciated the support from his team’s big bats, even if he didn’t last long enough for the win in the seven-inning game.
"Adding on is huge and we’ve been doing that," Happ said. "I think the focus you see when guys come to the field and the game starts is impressive."
LESTER RETURNS, AGAIN
Veteran left-hander Jon Lester is slated to start Saturday against the Cubs, one of his former teams, for the first time since he was traded to the Cardinals.
Lester, who helped anchor Chicago’s rotation from 2015 through 2020, earned his 200th career win on Monday at Milwaukee. The Cubs recognized Lester’s milestone on the videoboard in left before the second inning and he doffed his cap from the dugout.
Lester began the season with Washington, and he lost at Wrigley Field on May 17 in his return to the ballpark. He is 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in his last six starts.
Cardinals: Added RHP Dakota Hudson as the 29th man for the doubleheader. He is coming back from Tommy John a year ago. ... SS Edmundo Sosa was hit by a pitch in the sixth and replaced by Paul DeJong.
Cubs: Placed C Robinson Chirinos on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain and recalled outfielder Greg Deichmann from Triple-A Iowa. Ross said Chirinos will miss the remainder of the season. RHP Jason Adam was promoted from Iowa to serve as the 29th man for the doubleheader and struck out the side in the seventh. Adam came back after a gruesome left ankle break — the bone tore through his skin — in the minors in May.
Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (9-2, 3.08 ERA), out since Aug. 25 with a right shoulder strain, was reinstated from the injury list and will start the second game against Zach Davies (6-11, 5.49 ERA).