Cubs, Cardinals duel in wild opener

Fresh off a sweep of the New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs started a new series against the St. Louis Cardinals today.  This time of the season, all games are important, but this one was especially so. Both teams are in a pennant race.

The Cards got a run in the first, off a solo home run, giving them the early lead 0-1.

Things weren’t looking too good going into the 4th. The Cubs had had no base runners, no hits, and no runs. Thankfully, Kris Bryant took care of that. He launched a solo homer into  deep right center field, his 27th of the year, and tying the game. 1-1.

Pitcher John Lackey, despite that first inning homer, was great on the mound.  At least, up until the 4th inning when both he and Contreras got ejected for arguing with the home plate umpire. It was justified, however, he missed a huge pitch, that was clearly a strike. The Cards scored another run drinking this, making it 1-2.

Alex Avila brought in KB in the 6th with an RBI single, making it 2-2, with men on the corners, and one out for Jon Jay, who brought in Anthony Rizzo, breaking the tie, 3-2 with 1 out, two on for Jason Heyward, who walked, loading the bases for Javier Baez, who brought in a run with a single, making it 4-2, with one out and the bases loaded for Ian Happ, who brought in two with a single. 6-2, with runners on the corners and one out for Ben Zobrist, the 9th batter of the inning. Zo brought in one more run with a sac fly. 7-2 Cubs, with one on, two out for KB. KB got in on the RBI action as well, with an RBI single, making it 8-2. Rizzo flew out, ending the inning.

The bullpen, which has been struggling, really stepped up in todays game, Justin Wilson in particular. Sure some allowed hits, but no other runs scored, which is a huge improvement for the ‘pen. There was some trouble in the 8th, when the Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs with Wade Davis pitching, although he was only responsible for the runner on first, but thankfully, got out of it unscathed.

Cubs win!

The Cubs extend their lead in the NL Central, and will play the Cards the rest of this weekend. Their magic number is now 13.

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