Cards find wild way to slam door on Cubs' streak

Cards find wild way to slam door on Cubs' streak

CHICAGO -- The Cubs were reminded on Saturday that the Cardinals aren't going to just hand over the Central Division, as well as how much they miss their prime setup men. Brandon Moss and Jedd Gyorko each hit solo homers, Stephen Piscotty scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch in the eighth, and birthday boy Randal Grichuk sealed the six-run inning and win with a grand slam to lift the Cardinals to an 8-4 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, snapping Chicago's winning streak at 11.

Alex Reyes, St. Louis' top prospect, picked up his first Major League win in relief of the Cardinals' No. 2 prospect, Luke Weaver. The Cardinals won for the fifth time in the last 13 games, and are in the mix for a National League Wild Card spot; they trail the Cubs by 13 games in the division.

"[It was] fun for our organization to see them just jump in here in this atmosphere at this time of year and be able to do what they did," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after watching Reyes and Weaver cover seven combined innings. "I couldn't have been any more impressed and happy about how these guys went out and did their job."

Reyes fans Bryant

After years of hearing about the Cubs' youth movement, this was a day for the Cardinals to show off their own up-and-coming talent. In addition to asking Weaver, 22, and Reyes, 21, to come up and pitch in a pennant race, the Cardinals got their biggest hit from an outfielder who was celebrating his 25th birthday.

"We're not on empty down there [in the Minors]," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I think today you got to see that."

With the game tied at 2 and one out in the St. Louis eighth, Piscotty walked, Matt Carpenter singled and Moss walked to load the bases against rookie Carl Edwards Jr. Yadier Molina then struck out but Piscotty scored on a wild pitch. Jhonny Peralta walked to load the bases again, and Edwards walked Gyorko to force in another run. Joe Smith replaced Edwards, and Grichuk launched his second pitch into the left-field bleachers for his 14th homer.

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Grichuk's grand slam

If Hector Rondon or Pedro Strop had been available, Cubs manager Joe Maddon would've called on one of them for the eighth instead of Edwards, who had given up five earned runs over 23 2/3 innings in his career prior to Saturday.

"That's an example of what the team looks like without Strop and Rondon," Maddon said of the pair, who are nursing injuries. "I felt really good about [Edwards] in that moment. He's been outstanding."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The kid can play: Addison Russell has been one of the main run-producers in the second half. He added to his stats in the second, when he hit his career-high 14th homer, driving in Ben Zobrist, who had doubled. Russell now has 20 RBIs since the All-Star break, most on the team, and 71 for the season. Team RBI leader Anthony Rizzo is second in second-half RBIs with 19.

Russell's two-run home run

"I think it has to do with opportunity," Russell said of his RBI totals. "Putting me in that five-hole with the guys we have in front of me, I think all their [on-base percentages are] out the roof now. They're getting on, and my job is to get them over. If we get those runs in, and score them, it's a plus."

A striking start: Weaver opened his Major League debut with a 94-mph strike to Dexter Fowler, and then notched his first career strikeout by freezing Fowler on a 1-2 sinker. Weaver, who struck out two in a clean first inning, also ended his four-inning appearance with a strikeout, his third of the day.

"That first inning was definitely the highlight of my baseball career," Weaver said. "It happened the way I would have liked to write it up. I just had to take a deep breath and make sure I was in the moment there. Besides that, it was just a lot of fun."

Weaver's first career strikeout

Start me up: Chicago's Kyle Hendricks, who began the day ranked second in the National League in home ERA, matched his career high with 12 strikeouts but did not get a decision. He had given up two homers in 12 games (11 starts) at Wrigley Field but served up a pair of solo homers to Moss and Gyorko on Saturday. Hendricks, lifted after throwing 100 pitches over seven innings, now has a 1.31 ERA at home, giving up 12 earned runs over 82 1/3 innings.

Hendricks fans 12 in solid start

"He's throwing the ball exactly where he wants to," Maddon said of Hendricks. "He was executing outstanding. The heavy strikeouts were a surprise, because [the Cardinals] will move the baseball. That tells you how much [Hendricks'] stuff was on today. There were two elevated changeups to Moss and to Gyorko that caused the home runs. That's a pitch he normally never throws up there."

Helped by the homer: Ten of the 13 runs the Cardinals have scored in this series have come via the long ball. Gyorko leads all MLB players with 10 homers since July 18, while Moss became the first Cardinals position player to reach the 20-homer plateau this season. Grichuk has homered twice since being recalled from Triple-A on Thursday, with Saturday's blast his first career grand slam.

Gyorko's game-tying solo homer

QUOTABLE
"When I'm catching Weaver and Reyes, they have so much talent. They showed up today. They showed what they could do in the big leagues against a good team, the Cubs. I'm excited about it." -- catcher Yadier Molina

"You're going to lose some ballgames in baseball. It happens. The best thing about it is there's one tomorrow. We had a good stretch there. We have to try to pick it back up tomorrow." -- Hendricks

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Grichuk's grand slam was the first by a Cardinal at Wrigley Field since since Adam Kennedy connected for one in 2008. Grichuk also joined Colby Rasmus as the only players in franchise history to hit a grand slam on their birthday.

Hendricks is the fourth Cubs starting pitcher in the last 30 years to give up three earned runs or fewer in 15 consecutive starts, joining Jake Arrieta (2015-16), Mike Morgan (1992) and Frank Castillo (1994-95).

WHAT'S NEXT
Cardinals: Mike Leake draws the start in Sunday's ESPN-televised series finale against the Cubs at 7:08 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field. Leake has allowed 22 runs over his last 22 innings, but he is 9-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 20 career starts against Chicago.

Cubs: John Lackey will face his former team on Sunday in the series finale at Wrigley Field. Lackey is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts against the Cardinals. He has 17 quality starts, and holding teams to a .219 batting average against. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CT on ESPN.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.