ST. LOUIS -- A nuisance to Cards starter Lance Lynn all night, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo drove in three runs to support starter Jon Lester and help the Cubs snap a four-game losing streak with a 6-5 win at Busch Stadium on Wednesday. The Cubs' win halted the Cardinals attempt to collect a ninth consecutive victory, which would have been the team's longest winning streak since 2004.
After stealing come-from-behind wins in the first two games of the series, the Cardinals couldn't catch up after falling into a two-run, first-inning hole. Run-scoring hits by Kris Bryant and Starlin Castro helped Chicago to the early lead. Rizzo later padded the lead with a homer (his fifth of the year) and two-run double. It was his first three-RBI game of the season.
With his second straight seven-inning start, Lester earned his second straight win and avenged an Opening Night loss to St. Louis on April 5 at Wrigley Field. Three of the four runs he allowed were unearned, and Lester avoided further damage by stranding five Cardinals in scoring position. That included a pair in the bottom of the sixth, after the Cards had pulled to within one with a two-out rally.
"He keeps making positive strides and steps, and that's good for us," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Five of Chicago's runs were charged to Lynn, who gave the Cardinals six innings but fell to 1-3 on the season. The Cardinals advanced the potential tying run to third with one out in the ninth but couldn't push Peter Bourjos in.
"That's the great thing about this team -- everybody was sensing that, 'Here it goes again. We're going to find a way to win this,'" Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter said. "But that's the way it goes sometimes. You can't win them all."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Kid stuff: Bryant hit an RBI single in the first for his 13th RBI, which ranks among the top three on the team, while another rookie, Addison Russell, smacked his sixth double in the fifth. Rizzo, who leads the Majors in on-base percentage, extended his hitting streak to seven games with a solo homer in the third and added a two-run double in the fourth. All three players are under 26. More >
Coming up short: Four different times the Cardinals pulled to within one run, but they couldn't collect a game-tying hit. Pinch-hitter Matt Adams struck out to strand two in scoring position against Lester in the sixth. Two innings later, Jon Jay came off the bench with the potential tying run on second and go-ahead run at first. He grounded into an inning-ending double play to help Cubs reliever Pedro Strop out of trouble. Bourjos advanced to third with one out in the ninth but was left stranded there by Cubs closer Hector Rondon.
"He hung me a slider I should have put in play," said Mark Reynolds, who went down swinging against Rondon with one out and Bourjos on third. "I didn't get it done. After that, he threw me a slider that looked like a strike and ended as a ball. You move on." More >
Joltin' Jhonny: Shortstop Jhonny Peralta launched a Lester fastball an estimated 447 feet in the fourth inning, briefly pulling the Cards to within one and giving Peralta his first homer off a lefty this year. Peralta, who has hit safely in 22 of 26 games this season, entered the day hitting just .158/.238/.158 against southpaws.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Rizzo's last 61 homers have either been solo or two-run shots. His last homer with more than one runner on base came Sept. 16, 2012, a grand slam.
"I just think this is who we are. They're just going to keep coming. Regardless of what's happened in recent games, just keep playing, one at-bat, one pitch at a time. It's a great philosophy. It's going to be an entertaining team to watch if we keep playing baseball like that." -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Both the Cubs and Cardinals used their challenges in the first inning, and lost both. Dexter Fowler singled to lead off the Chicago first, and the Cardinals thought they picked him off with a throw from Lynn. Manager Joe Maddon challenged the call, but after review, it stood. In the St. Louis first, manager Mike Matheny challenged Peter Bourjos being thrown out at second but that call also stood.
It's the first time both teams have exhausted their challenges in the first inning of a game.
Maddon didn't get to watch the end of the game from the dugout. He was ejected in the top of the sixth after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. It's the second time Maddon's been tossed this season. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jake Arrieta will close the Cubs' four-game series on Thursday. He is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA (three earned runs over 36 1/3 innings) in six career starts against the Redbirds. Arrieta is coming off a loss in his last outing, which ended his string of quality starts at four. First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. CT at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals:John Lackey will close out the Cardinals' 11-game homestand with his sixth start of the season on Thursday. Lackey has faced the Cubs just twice since 2004, going 0-1 with four earned runs allowed over 13 innings.