CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta didn't have his Superman stuff, so the Cubs instead put on a power show Monday night as rookies Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber hit half of Chicago's six home runs to post an 8-6 victory over the Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. Chicago now has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, and the club can advance to the NL Championship Series with a win on Tuesday (4:30 p.m. ET, TBS) at Wrigley Field.
"[Manager] Joe [Maddon] mentioned we have to show up Tuesday," Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "We took care of Monday. We'll show up Tuesday, and bring energy and see what we do. We'll be ready to go."
The Cubs became the first team to ever hit six home runs in a postseason game, with six players combining to accomplish the feat. Jason Heyward and Stephen Piscotty each connected for the Cardinals, and the eight total home runs set a Major League mark for one postseason game.
Besides the three Cubs kids, Starlin Castro, Rizzo and Dexter Fowler joined in the fun with solo shots. This was the Cubs' first postseason win at Wrigley Field since Game 2 of the 2003 NL Championship Series against the Marlins. If they do win the NLDS on Tuesday, it would be the first time ever that the Cubs have won a postseason series at Wrigley. Imagine the party.
"These guys always come back and they keep grinding every at-bat," Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said of the Cardinals. "That's the reason they won 100 games. They're professional players out there, professional hitters and they make things happen. You can't get enough runs against this team. We have to come back [Tuesday] with the same approach and go after it."
How important is winning Game 3? The team that takes a 2-1 lead in the NLDS has gone on to win 20 out of 24 series. The four teams that lost despite a 2-1 lead were the 2013 Pirates, 2012 Reds, 2011 Phillies and 2002 Braves, and the Cardinals were responsible for two of those instances, rallying to beat the Pirates and the Phillies in those series.
Including the American League Division Series numbers, teams that went ahead 2-1 in a Division Series were 39-10 in winning that series.
"I like our odds when our backs are against the wall," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "This is the kind of team that we've had all season long, regardless of what anybody else thinks, regardless of odds, regardless of who we're stacked up against, this team just continues to fight, and that's not something that you lose regardless of where you stand. I'm excited to watch them come out and compete."
Bryant and Rizzo entered the game a combined 0-for-21 in the postseason, and after Bryant ended his funk with a single in the first, he launched a tiebreaking two-run home run off 17-game winner Michael Wacha in the fifth. Lefty Kevin Siegrist took over, and Rizzo greeted him with his first postseason hit, a home run into the right-field seats. And yes, the wind was blowing out to right.
"You have to make pitches against these guys," Wacha said. "You have to take account of every single pitch because they can hit some mistake balls. They don't miss very many of them. You have to be careful with these guys. Just going out there and attacking them, throw quality strikes and you'll be good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Kid stuff: A year ago, Schwarber was finishing up instructional league in Arizona. He gave the Cubs the lead with his opposite-field homer into the basket rimming the left-field bleachers in the second. Soler has yet to make an out in the postseason. He drew two walks, singled and homered in Game 3, and is the first player to reach base in his first nine postseason plate appearances. The Cubs' previous postseason high for home runs in a game was five, set by the 1984 Cubs, who did so in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series against the Padres. This also is the first time in franchise history that the one through six hitters in the Cubs' lineup have each hit a home run in the same game. More >
Bullpen blip: Matheny was aggressive with his 'pen, going to setup man Siegrist in the fifth and his X-factor, Adam Wainwright, with a one-run deficit in the sixth. Neither could hold down the Cubs. Both pitchers allowed home runs to the first batters they faced, with Soler's two-run shot off Wainwright pushing Chicago's lead to three. Jonathan Broxton then served up the Cubs' final run in the eighth.
"I tried to make a pitcher's pitch down and away for some soft contact or a swing and miss," Wainwright said. "I just did not execute like I wanted to. It stings that that ended up being the difference in the game right there. I will definitely learn from that and make a better pitch next time. I felt very good but just didn't get that ball out quite where I wanted to."
Start me up: The Cardinals, who did not face Arrieta in his stellar second half, made the right-hander look human. Arrieta struck out nine over 5 2/3 innings and served up four runs, the most since June 16, including a pair on Heyward's two-run homer in the sixth. The right-hander had given up seven runs (four earned) total over his final 12 starts of the regular season. More >
"I don't know what happened but he really lost it [in the fourth]," Montero said. "I was like, 'Oh, boy. Oh my God, what's going on?' He wasn't even close to the plate. Luckily enough, he got out of the jam. I felt confident he would get his rhythm again and get going. He made good pitches. He did a great job."
Montero could poke a little fun at the right-hander.
"He's human, man," the catcher said of the Cubs' ace. "It's going to happen. I'm actually happy it happened because now I realize he's human. I was a little concerned."
Heyward hits … and misses: Cleanup hitter Heyward was up in big spots all night. He came through twice against Arrieta, with a leadoff double in the second and a two-run blast in the sixth after entering the game 6-for-18 against the right-hander. But a strikeout stalled some momentum in the fourth, and Heyward then couldn't capitalize against Travis Wood when he came to the plate as the potential tying run in the seventh.
"We put up four on him," Heyward said of Arrieta. "We put up some good [at-bats], made him work, made him earn it, and tonight, they earned it."
"I want to win championships. I want to be on good teams. We have a chance here still, and I want to try and keep it moving." -- John Lackey, on being named the team's Game 4 starter after the Cardinals' loss
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Soler drew two walks in the game to raise his total in the postseason to five, which ties the rookie record for a League Division Series. The only other rookie with five walks was Pete Kozma in the 2012 NLDS.
The six home runs allowed set a Cardinals postseason record, breaking the mark of five from 1928, when the Cards allowed that many to the Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series. Babe Ruth hit three of them. It was also just the 11th time since 1914 that the Cardinals have given up six home runs in any game, regular season or postseason.
Cubs rookie Addison Russell tripled with two outs in the fourth and dove head-first into third, but he had to leave the game with tightness in his left hamstring. Russell will be re-examined on Tuesday. Javier Baez took over at short for Russell. Baez, coincidentally, missed time during the season because of a broken finger suffered from a head-first slide into second. More >
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was removed for a pinch-hitter in the sixth, likely due to aggravating a left thumb injury. Molina, who is wearing a splint so he can play despite a torn ligament in his thumb, was checked by the team's head athletic trainer after an awkward swing in the fourth. Tony Cruz replaced Molina behind the plate. Matheny said afterward that he was unsure of Molina's status for Game 4.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: The Cardinals announced after the game that veteran right-hander Lackey will draw the Game 4 start on three days' rest. Lackey, who threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 1, has made two previous postseason starts on short rest -- but none since 2005.
Cubs:Jason Hammel gets the start in Game 4. Hammel is 0-1 in four career postseason games, last pitching in relief for the Athletics last season. The right-hander was 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA in 31 starts during the regular season.