Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Hector Rondon delivers during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Chicago. The Cubs won 6-5. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Adam Wainwright ran into what is becoming his kryptonite, and the Cubs combined their suddenly pesky hitting and a rare save to beat the rival Cardinals, 6-5, Friday at Wrigley Field.
The St. Louis ace has given up 12 runs all season; 10 have been to the Cubs.
Between his April 12 start against the Cubs and Friday, the right-hander had thrown a National League-best 25 scoreless innings.
Friday, he lost his first-ever game at Wrigley Field, allowing six runs on 10 hits and two walks in a season-low five innings.
“We put great at-bats against Wainwright, who’s the hottest pitcher in the league right now,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who had a solo homer and three RBIs. “It’s encouraging for us.”
The Cubs started the game with a single, double and another single, staking Travis Wood to a 2-0 lead before making an out.
“We played a great ballgame today through and through,” said the left-hander, who allowed three runs, two earned, in seven innings. “We were able to get to Wainwright early, and even in the middle, and then toward the end as well.”
The Cardinals evened the game at 2 in the third before the Cubs scored three in the bottom half.
Ryan Sweeney’s grounder with the bases loaded preceded Welington’s Castillo’s two-run double, one of his three two-baggers on the day. Rizzo’s blast, hooked around the right-field foul pole in the fifth, all but chased Wainwright.
“You gotta give them all the credit in the world, because they did battle,” manager Rick Renteria said of his hitters.
Jhonny Peralta’s two-run homer in the eighth off Justin Grimm made it 6-5.
Sweeney’s right hamstring injury came minutes later, as he chased — and caught — a flyout in the left-centerfield gap.
He was scheduled for an MRI late Friday, and Renteria said talking about any potential roster move would be “speculative on my part.”
The Cubs’ ninth inning was, for a change, ho-hum.
Hector Rondon retired the side on a weak grounder, a foul pop and, finally, a line drive to left fielder Junior Lake to end the game.
“I think I’ve learned more about myself: be aggressive, mentally,” said Rondon after his second save of the season. “Throw strikes. And I think that’s a big key for me.”
A bigger key, though, would be to win a series for the first time this season.
“We got two cracks at it,” Rizzo said. “It starts tomorrow.”