One day after the Cubs put together one of their biggest stinkers of 2023 in the doubleheader Game 2 loss to the Cardinals, they posted one of their best efforts of the season against the NL Central leaders.
They got a solid effort in a spot start by Luke Farrell, shutdown bullpen work and a varied offense topped by Nico Hoerner’s three-hit game and Zach McKinstry’s first Cubs home run, and defeated the Cardinals 7-1 to even up this series at two wins each.
The Cubs got on the board in the second inning. With one out, Hoerner singled and Patrick Wisdom walked. Rafael Ortega then dropped a perfect bunt down the third-base line that rolled to a stop about 60 feet from the plate and the bases were loaded.
Yan Gomes made it 1-0 Cubs [VIDEO].
Nelson Velázquez followed with an RBI double [VIDEO].
An infield groundout by McKinstry plated the Cubs’ third run of the inning [VIDEO].
In the top of the third, Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado differed with plate umpire John Libka’s interpretation of his checked swing [VIDEO].
The pitch was out of the zone, but Libka said Arenado swung at it. That’s a pretty severe reaction; Arenado was tossed and was lucky he didn’t make contact with Libka, or he’d be facing a suspension.
Luke Farrell threw four good innings. The Cardinals made hard contact several times, but generally right at Cubs fielders, until Lars Nootbaar hit a one-out homer in the fifth. At that point David Ross lifted Farrell for Rowan Wick, who completed the fifth and also threw a scoreless sixth, though he did allow two hits in the latter inning.
Mark Leiter Jr. threw a 1-2-3 seventh and then the Cubs got to work on increasing their lead.
Gomes reached on an error with one out, and one out later, McKinstry put a baseball into the right-field patio [VIDEO].
I am still not convinced McKinstry will stick with the Cubs beyond 2023, but he’ll certainly get more chances the rest of this season.
Brandon Hughes then struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth — Hughes is quickly becoming a solid high-leverage reliever and could get more closing opportunities, as he did in Game 1 Tuesday. Here are the three strikeout pitches:
Brandon Hughes, K'ing the Side. pic.twitter.com/tp4okMYIqD— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 25, 2022
The Cubs tacked on two more in the eighth. Ian Happ and Franmil Reyes began the inning with singles. Christopher Morel ran for Reyes, and Hoerner’s third hit of the night made it 6-1 [VIDEO].
After Wisdom’s comebacker resulted in an out at the plate, Seiya Suzuki batted for Ortega and was intentionally passed to load the bases.
Gomes hit a fly ball for his second RBI of the game [VIDEO].
Kervin Castro, who had been recalled from Triple-A Iowa in a flurry of roster moves Wednesday afternoon, threw the ninth and recorded this ground out to end the game [VIDEO].
Kudos to Farrell for a nice outing; it might be a one-off and he won’t be back, but he certainly savored the evening:
Luke Farrell on returning to Wrigley: "I missed it so much. I love it here. I worked my tail off to get back here, and I wanted to make the most of the opportunity. It was a great night.”— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) August 25, 2022
During the game, the Cubs announced three new members of the team Hall of Fame, including radio broadcaster Pat Hughes [VIDEO].
Congratulations to Pat, one of the truly nice guys and an excellent broadcaster. This quote sums up his humility and grace:
Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes, on the audience he’s had for nearly 30 years in Chicago ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/3hig1QsaJO— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 25, 2022
Buck O’Neil and Jose Cardenal will also get plaques on the Cubs’ Hall of Fame wall in the bleacher concourse. They’ll be unveiled Saturday, September 10.
The Cubs are having a very good August:
The Cubs improved to 13-10 in August tonight.— Tim Stebbins (@tim_stebbins) August 25, 2022
-Most wins in a month this season
-Most wins in a month since May 2021 (19-8)
-Need to go 3-4 rest of August to clinch first winning month since May '21.
One more note: For the second time this year, Cubs pitchers struck out 10 and didn’t walk anyone. Keep up the good work!
They’ll try to win their sixth straight series Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Marcus Stroman will start for the Cubs and Dakota Hudson gets the call for the Cardinals. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (also MLB Network outside the Cubs and Cardinals market territories).