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Cardinals 1, Cubs 0: Albert Pujols returns to torture the Cubs

And the Cubs managed just one hit off Jordan Montgomery.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

What can even be said about a game like this?

The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 1-0 Monday evening at Wrigley Field on a solo home run in the seventh inning by Albert Pujols.

No, this is not a headline and storyline from 2006.

On top of that, Jordan Montgomery — who threw seven shutout innings against the Cubs for the Yankees June 11 in New York — gave the Cubs one measly hit, a double by Christopher Morel in the third inning. Morel got to third on a throwing error, but was stranded.

Montgomery got the last out on his 99th pitch of the evening, which means he threw a “Maddux,” described as a complete-game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches. (Defined here.)

I mean... that’s the recap. That’s pretty much everything significant that happened.

So instead of a traditional recap, you’re going to get some numbers and “hasn’t happened since” notes.

  • Last time the Cubs lost 1-0 at Wrigley Field: May 23, 2018 to Cleveland.
  • Last visiting pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout at Wrigley: Cole Hamels, July 25, 2015 (Hamels’ no-hitter).
  • Last pitcher to throw a “Maddux” at Wrigley: Kyle Hendricks, May 3, 2019 against... the Cardinals, with only 81 pitches thrown. This is also the most recent nine-inning complete game by any Cubs pitcher.
  • Last visiting pitcher to throw a “Maddux” at Wrigley: Paul Maholm, May 28, 2011 for the Pirates (here’s a complete list of all visiting pitchers to do that).
  • Last visiting pitcher to throw a CG and face only 28 batters at Wrigley: Joel Piñiero, May 19, 2009, for the Cardinals. This has been done only six times in the divisional play era (since 1969). Here are all six games.

It was Albert Pujols’ 58th career home run against the Cubs. All-time record: 92, by Willie Mays. It was Pujols’ 30th career home run at Wrigley Field. All-time record: 54, also by Mays. Drew Smyly is the 449th pitcher Pujols has homered off — that ties the all-time MLB record, held by Barry Bonds. Here’s Smyly on that:

The Cardinals did make a couple of nice defensive plays to rob Cubs of hits.

Nolan Arenado in the fifth [VIDEO].

Tommy Edman in the eighth [VIDEO].

Montgomery, for the final out (and Nick Madrigal might have been safe, but no challenge followed) [VIDEO].

Here’s the only Cubs hit, by Morel [VIDEO].

Smyly threw a really nice game and Sean Newcomb and Kervin Castro kept it 1-0 with scoreless innings of relief. If you throw seven innings and allow one run, as Smyly did, your team should win a vast majority of the time. He simply got outpitched. Tip o’ the cap to Montgomery, who has been otherworldly (four starts, 25⅓ innings, one run) since joining the Cardinals. The Yankees are going to regret that deal, if they don’t already.

Last game note: The game ran 2:16. That’s the fastest nine-inning game at Wrigley Field since June 5, 2017, when there was also a 2:16 game, against the Marlins. The Cubs won that one 3-1. There have been only 12 MLB games this year that have gone 2:16 or shorter. (Bring on the pitch clock!)

We move on to a doubleheader for the Cubs against the Cardinals Tuesday at Wrigley Field, the last of the games that needed to be made up due to MLB’s lockout. (Remember that?)

In the day game (1:20 p.m. CT), the Cubs are calling up prospect righthander Javier Assad to start against Adam Wainwright.

Adrian Sampson will start the nightcap (7:05 p.m. CT) against Jake Woodford.

TV coverage for both games will be via Marquee Sports Network. The day game will also be on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Cardinals market territories).