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Rapid Recap, National League Division Series Game 2: Cubs 6, Cardinals 3

Behind Jorge Soler and some strong bullpen work, the Cubs evened up their series with the Cardinals.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone feel better now? OK. Now exhale. Everything is good.

The Chicago Cubs tied up the best-of-five National League Division Series at a game each with a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals today at Busch Stadium.

The game started off poorly as the Cubs stranded Jorge Soler at second base after a one-out double and Matt Carpeneter led off the bottom of the first with a home run to make it 1-0. But a disastrous second inning by Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals led to five unearned runs, which was all the Northsiders would need.

Starlin Castro led off the second inning with a single and then Austin Jackson hit a ground ball to shortstop Jhonny Peralta that looked like a double play, although second baseman Kolten Wong had to hurry with the speedy Jackson running. I don't know if it was intentional, but Wong threw the ball on one bounce halfway between first and home and into the Cardinals dugout. If it was intentional, it was a poor decision. That put Jackson on second with one out, and then Jackson stole third.

If you've been following the Cubs this season, you know they have problems scoring runners from third with less than two outs.  The Cards semi-intentionally walked Miguel Montero to bring Hendricks to the plate. Hendricks laid down a perfect safety squeeze. Garcia didn't seem to know what to do with the ball and eventually ended up throwing it into right field to put runners on second and third with only one out.

Maddon went to the safety squeeze a second time with Addison Russell to give the Cubs their first lead of the series, although this time Garcia figured out he needed to throw to first for the out.

Next up, Dexter Fowler singled home Hendricks to make it 3-1 and set up Jorge Soler's blast over the center field fence to give the Cubs a four-run lead.

Garcia exited the game after the second inning. The Cardinals said he had a stomach virus. Meanwhile, Hendricks was on cruise control, at least for a while. After the Carpenter lead-off home run, Hendricks retired 14 of the next 15 batters, seven by strike out. Then with two outs in the fifth, Hendricks gave up a solo home run to Wong. No big deal, right? He followed that up with a solo home run by pinch-hitter Randal Grichuk. A somewhat bigger deal. Joe Maddon had seen enough. The call to the bullpen went out and Travis Wood came in.

After that, the game was pretty routine. The Cubs failed to cash in on a rally in the seventh, but it didn't matter because Wood, Trevor Cahill and Hector Rondon shut the Cardinals down the rest of the way.

So here's where we stand. It's a best-of-three series right now with two of the three games at Wrigley. Jake Arrieta will start game three. By no means do the Cubs have this thing in the bag, but you'd rather be in the Cubs position than the Cardinals right now.

So smile.

Al was at the game and he'll have a full recap in the morning. Also, please use this thread to discuss the Mets/Dodgers Divisional Series Game 2 if you so wish.