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Cubs bring their bats for Cardinals in 17-5 trouncing

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Updated: May 13, 2014 9:52AM

ST. LOUIS — What is it about the 2014 Cardinals that brings out the best in these Cubs?

Yeah, we know, “best” is as relative as it gets.

But still. With a 17-5 victory here Monday, the Cubs moved to 4-3 this season against their biggest, and certainly much better, rival. Those 17 runs and the 20 hits that went with them blew away the Cubs’ previous season highs of 12 and 15, respectively.

“We kept chipping away,” said manager Rick Renteria.

Chipping away? More like wailing away.

The individual stat lines were even more out of whack with reality, or at least with the Cubs’ recent performances. Take Emilio Bonifacio, who entered the game mired in a 3-for-28 slump. All Bonifacio did Monday was go 4-for-5 and become the first Cubs player to score five runs in a game since — are you ready for this? — Jody Davis in 1987.

Then there’s the young, ever intriguing Junior Lake, who isn’t hitting better than .250 against any other opponent this season but somehow is 9-for-19 against St. Louis, with seven extra-base hits. He had three hits, including a home run, and — count ’em — six RBIs Monday.

Why stop there? Starlin Castro had three hits and drove in three runs. Anthony Rizzo likewise knocked in three. Darwin Barney, a .153 hitter coming in, was a .188 hitter going out after a 3-for-5 night. Mike Olt, who came in at a much more robust .176, had a two-hit night that included his eighth home run, tops among National League rookies.

On, and Travis Wood went six modestly strong innings to raise his record to 3-4, but why are we talking about this? It was the least-strange thing of the night, which isn’t saying much on a night so strange that David Descalso ended the top of the ninth on the mound for the Cardinals.

Did we mention that Descalso is an infielder?

“That’s what makes [the game] so much fun,” Olt said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Look, some things probably defy explanation. There are no hidden truths to find in the Cubs, already beyond buried at 13-24, manhandling their traditional bullies.

But remember last week’s series between these teams at Wrigley Field? The Cubs took two of three then — their lone series victory over any opponent since early September of last season.

They might as well take a fun night like this one and run with it. They’re a long way from winning this series — it would take a hard-to-believe three victories in four games to pull that off — but 17 runs and 20 hits have a way of making them seem a long way from being swept in Atlanta and dropped seven of eight overall prior to arriving here.

“When we get to the field, we want to win,” Lake said. “If [we’re] positive, we can make the adjustments and get a win like today’s.”

Is it really that simple? Of course not. Maybe the good times won’t last more than one night. Who are we kidding? With this team, that’s a real possibility.

With these two seemingly mismatched teams, though, things are upside-down in 2014. No point trying to figure out why that is. Just enjoy it while — if — it lasts.


Twitter: @slgreenberg

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