ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kyle Hendricks and Addison Russell had successful squeeze bunts and Jorge Soler capped a five-run second with a two-run homer, and the Chicago Cubs held off the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Saturday night to even their NL Division Series at a game apiece.
Manager Joe Maddon made all the right moves a night after the Cubs lost the opener 4-0. Now the teams shift to Wrigley Field for Game 3 Monday, where Chicago’s 22-game winner Jake Arrieta faces St. Louis’ Michael Wacha in the best-of-five series.
The usually steady NL Central champion Cardinals made two errors as the Cubs didn’t hit the ball out of the infield in scoring their first three runs in the second.
Playing in his first postseason game, Soler connected off Jaime Garcia (0-1), who was lifted because of a stomach ailment after the second inning.
Dexter Fowler, Soler and Starlin Castro each had two of Chicago’s six hits in a game played in front of a crowd of 47,859, a postseason record at 10-year-old Busch Stadium, that included thousands of Cubs fans.
Besides the two-run homer, Soler doubled and walked twice in the Cubs’ first postseason victory since 2003. Chicago had lost seven straight Division Series games.
The Cardinals homered three times, including a leadoff long ball by Matt Carpenter. Consecutive shots by Kolten Wong and pinch-hitter Randal Grichuk with two outs in the fifth chased Hendricks one out shy of qualifying for the victory in his postseason debut.
Travis Wood (1-0) allowed one hit with two strikeouts in 2 1-3 scoreless innings for the victory. Hector Rondon, briefly stuck in the bullpen bathroom during Game 1, earned the save.
Garcia left because of a stomach virus after a sloppy second inning. Though none of the runs were earned, the lefty’s first postseason start since 2012 was a disaster.
The Cubs capitalized when Garcia blew a play on a safety squeeze by Hendricks. The pitcher hesitated instead of throwing home with a very good chance of cutting down the run, then made a wild, flat-footed throw to first for an error.
Russell, the next batter, squeezed in another run, and Dexter Fowler had an RBI infield hit before Soler drove a high 2-2 pitch over the center field wall.
Lance Lynn, the presumptive Game 4 starter, replaced Garcia in the third as the first in a parade of relievers.
Two-time 20-game winner Adam Wainwright, coming off a torn left Achilles in late April, fanned three in 1 2-3 scoreless innings, his fourth appearance since being injured and first of more than an inning.
Hendricks allowed three homers in 4 2-3 innings. He had 17 no-decisions in the regular season, most in the majors.
Kris Bryant went 0 for 4, with three groundouts and a strike out. He is 3 for 34 with no RBIs in his last nine games.
Ted Simmons, inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame earlier this year, threw out the ceremonial the first pitch. Simmons had been a senior adviser to the Mariners general manager but said he’d been let go. ”
Cardinals: The outing was Garcia’s shortest of the year. He had a pair of four-inning starts the final month, one of them against the Cubs.
Wong’s last nine postseason hits have gone for extra bases, matching the major league record shared by Miguel Cabrera and Jayson Werth. … Grichuk’s homer gave the Cardinals two homers in three pinch-hit at-bats this series.
Wacha (17-7, 3.38) was St. Louis top winner with 17 but he struggled the final month, going 2-3 with a 7.88 ERA. “I think his highs far outweigh his lows,” Wainwright said. Arrieta (22-6, 1.77) is the Cubs biggest winner since Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins was 24-13 in 1971. He tossed a shutout in the wild-card game.