Imanaga pitches 7 solid innings as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-1

Shota Imanaga pitched seven effective innings and Ian Happ hit a three-run homer, helping the Chicago Cubs hold off the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Saturday.

Imanaga allowed one run and four hits in his second straight win. The Japanese left-hander struck out six and walked none while improving to 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his first seven starts at Wrigley Field.

Chicago had lost three of four and 15 of 21. It was the team's first win in four games against rival St. Louis this season.

The Cardinals threatened in the seventh, putting runners on first and second with one out. But Imanaga (7-1) retired Dylan Carlson on a flyball and struck out Brendan Donovan, preserving a 2-1 lead.

Imanaga emphatically pumped his left arm after Donovan swung and missed an 84.1 mph sweeper for strike three on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. The rookie finished with a career-high 103 pitches, 69 for strikes.

The Cubs (34-37) then broke open the game in the bottom half. With two outs and two on, Happ drove a 1-2 slider from John King deep to left-center for his seventh homer.

St. Louis (34-35) finished with four hits. It had won three in a row and four of five to get back to .500.

The Cardinals jumped in front on Nolan Arenado's sacrifice fly in the fourth, but the Cubs responded with two runs in the bottom half.

St. Louis right-hander Andre Pallante (2-3) departed with one out and runners on first and second. Chris Roycroft came in and mishandled Nico Hoerner's grounder up the first-base line, allowing Cody Bellinger to score. Seiya Suzuki scampered home on Dansby Swanson's grounder in front of the plate.


Cardinals: C Willson Contreras (left arm fracture) took batting practice on Friday in St. Louis. ... LHP Steven Matz (back strain) is expected to throw approximately 50 pitches in a rehab appearance with Double-A Springfield on Sunday. ... RHP Giovanny Gallegos (shoulder impingement) allowed three runs and three hits in one inning in a rehab appearance with Springfield on Friday.

Cubs: LHP Jordan Wicks was placed on the 15-day IL with a strained right oblique, and RHP Keegan Thompson was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. ... RHP Yency Almonte (shoulder strain) is nearing a rehab stint in the minors after he threw live batting practice in Arizona on Friday. ... RHPs Caleb Kilian (shoulder strain) and Julian Merryweather (rib stress fracture) each had a bullpen session on Friday.


Right-handers Miles Mikolas (4-6, 4.85 ERA) and Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.09 ERA) pitch on Sunday in the series finale. Mikolas is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last six starts for St. Louis. Taillon tossed six scoreless innings in Chicago's 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.


Cubs pitcher Jordan Wicks likely headed to IL with strained oblique

Wicks exited in the second inning. He walked off the field accompanied by a trainer after giving up a two-out single to Dylan Carlson.