Cardinals set team record with 15th straight win, beat Cubs

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO — The St. Louis Cardinals set a franchise record with their 15th straight win, boosted when catcher Yadier Molina and center fielder Harrison Bader helped pull off a wild double play Saturday in an 8-5 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Bader, Tyler O'Neill and Paul DeJong homered as these Cardinals broke the team record of 14 wins in a row set in 1935, a year after Dizzy Dean and the Gas House Gang won the World Series.

Bader went 4 for 4 and scored three times as the Cardinals held their comfortable lead for the second NL wild-card spot — they began the day five games ahead of Philadelphia and six in front of Cincinnati.

And in a charmed final month, St. Louis preserved a late lead with a crazy play that resulted in a pair of rundowns and two outs.

After Nolan Arenado doubled to spark a three-run rally in the seventh, the Cardinals took a 5-4 lead into the eighth at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs quickly threatened when David Bote led off with a triple and Trayce Thompson walked. One out later, with runners still at the corners, Rafael Ortega hit a grounder to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who threw home to Molina.

After a short rundown, Arenado tagged out Bote. The star third baseman then cut across the diamond to trap Ortega off first. Another rundown ensued, with Molina catching a throw between second and third base before tossing to Bader, who had alertly rushed in join the play and led to Thompson being tagged, too.

The official scoring read like a phone number — 3-2-5-4-2-8-6 — it was the fourth double play of the afternoon for the dialed-in Cards, and kept them ahead by a run.

DeJong hit a two-run drive in the ninth. Ian Happ homered in the bottom half.

Far back in the playoff race heading into September, St. Louis moved closer to clinching a spot by extending its extraordinary streak.

The Cardinals date their history to 1892, when they known as the Browns and joined the National League. They later were called the Perfectos before becoming the Cardinals in the early 20th century.

Dean was among five Hall of Famers on that 1935 team that won 14 straight in July. The Cardinals’ only road wins during that streak came in a doubleheader at Wrigley on July 4 – St. Louis swept a doubleheader at Wrigley on Friday to keep this string going.

Happ drove in three runs for the Cubs, who have lost five straight and nine of 10. The loss snapped Chicago’s streak of seven consecutive winning seasons at Wrigley.

Down 4-2 in the seventh, the Cardinals rallied after Codi Heuer (7-3) replaced starter Adrian Sampson. Arenado led off with a double and Bader hit an RBI single, pointing toward the dugout as he headed to first.

Lars Nootbar’s single tied it and chased Heuer, and DeJong’s sacrifice fly gave the Cardinals the lead.

Bader slid under the tag to score on a wild pitch on a strikeout in the ninth before DeJong homered.

Kwang Hyun Kim (7-7) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.

Cardinals lefty Jon Lester allowed three earned runs in five innings in his first start against his former team since he was traded to St. Louis in July. He went 77-44 with a 3.64 ERA with the Cubs from 2015-20, helping lead them to the 2016 World Series championship. Fans greeted him with applause, and Chicago manager and former catcher David Ross ate dinner with him earlier in the week.

In his last start, Lester earned his 200th career win Monday at Milwaukee. The Cubs honored his milestone on the videoboard Friday.

Lester began the season with Washington, and he lost May 17 in his return to Wrigley Field. He was 2-1 with a 6.50 ERA in three previous career starts against Chicago.

Bader homered in the second inning for his second drive in as many games.

O’Neill tied the game with a solo shot in the fourth. It was his 32nd homer this season and third in three games. His 11 homers in September lead the majors.

The Cubs retook the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth. An error by Arenado error loaded the bases before Willson Contreras singled in a run.

Lester then walked Happ for a 4-2 Cubs lead. It was the Cardinals’ 29th bases-loaded walk, setting the modern-day record since 1974 and passing the 1999 Seattle Mariners.

The trainer checked on Lester in the fifth after he issued his third walk.


Cardinals: RHP Justin Miller (right elbow strain) went on the 10-day injured list. RHP Jake Woodford was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take his spot. Woodford was optioned to Memphis after Friday’s doubleheader. SS Edmundo Sosa (right hand/wrist) was out of the lineup after he was hit by a pitch Friday. He is expected to miss up to five games, manager Mike Shildt said. CF Dylan Carlson was out of the lineup for rest. He pinch hit in the seventh.

Cubs: INF Nico Hoerner (general soreness) was scratched from the lineup. Sergio Alcantara started in his place.


Woodford (3-3, 3.92 ERA) will start for the Cardinals against the Cubs and RHP Keegan Thompson (3-3, 3.40) in Sunday’s series finale.

McCutchen’s sacrifice fly lifts Pirates to 5-4 win, extends Athletics’ road losing streak to 15

Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH – Andrew McCutchen’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning lifted Pittsburgh to a 5-4 victory over Oakland on Monday night, extending the Pirates’ win streak to six games and sending the Athletics to their record-tying 15th consecutive road loss.

The 15 straight defeats away from home matches the Athletics’ record since they moved from Kansas City in 1968. Oakland set that mark in 1986.

The major league-worst Athletics (12-50) have lost five games in a row overall. They are on pace to finish the season exactly 100 games under .500 at 31-131.

“It’s tough,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said. “Tonight’s game, we didn’t play well enough to win the game. I don’t want to say we gave the game away but there were a lot of instances where we had a chance to capitalize on opportunities and didn’t do it.”

McCutchen also singled and drew three walks to go with two RBIs. The 2013 NL MVP now has 1,998 career hits.

With the score tied at 4, Ji Hwan Bae led off the decisive eighth inning with a single off Sam Moll (0-3) and advanced to third on Austin Hedges’ one-out single. McCutchen’s sac fly plated Bae.

“I was just trying to get the job done. I understand the situation there,” McCutchen said. “We just need to get the run. I was trying to bear down against a hard thrower and trying to get that run in as much as I can, and I was able to do it and have a good at-bat.”

Angel Perdomo (1-0) retired both hitters he faced. and Colin Holdeman pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first career save. It was an eventful inning for Holderman as the first three batters reached base, but he struck out Carlos Perez with runners on the corners to end it.

“I began my career as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues but ever since I was switched to relief, this has been the goal, to get a save in the big leagues,” Holderman said.

Pittsburgh starter Johan Oviedo gave up three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Oakland left-hander JP Sears did not allow a hit until Mark Mathias’ leadoff single in the fifth but was unable to make it through the inning. Sears was charged with one run in 4 2/3 innings while allowing two hits, walking five and striking out six.

Sears has not allowed more than two runs in five consecutive starts. His nine no-decisions are the most in the major leagues.

Ryan Noda and Brent Rooker had two hits each for the Athletics.

The Athletics tied the score at 4-4 in the eighth inning on pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz’s run-scoring double. Oakland left the bases loaded, though, when Nick Allen hit an inning-ending flyout.

Consecutive bases-loaded walks keyed a three-run sixth inning that put the Pirates 4-3. McCutchen and Bryan Reynolds each worked bases on balls off Shintaro Fujinami to tie the score at 3-all and pinch-hitter Jack Suwinski followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Athletics opened the scoring in the first inning when rookie Esteury Ruiz reached on catcher’s interference, stole his MLB-leading 30th base of the season and scored on Noda’s single. Seth Brown doubled in a run in the third and came home on Perez’s sacrifice fly to push Oakland’s lead to 3-0.

Connor Joe hit an RBI double for the Pirates in the fifth.

The Pirates drew 10 walks, their most in a game in nearly two years.

“We had a bunch of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize (on), but the thing I think I was most proud of is we got down and we didn’t rush to get back,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “We were still patient.”


Athletics: LHP Kirby Snead (strained shoulder) is expected to pitch in the Arizona Complex League on Tuesday, which will be his first game action since spring training. … RHP Freddy Tarnok (strained shoulder) will throw a bullpen on Tuesday.


Pirates catching prospect Henry Davis was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis from Double-A Altoona. In 41 games at Double-A this season, the 23-year-old hit .284 with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases.

“He was performing offensively at a level where we felt like he was more than ready to meet the challenges,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. “He improved as an offensive player even since spring training, focusing on the things we were challenging him on. Defensively, he’s made strides too.”

Davis was the first overall selection in the 2021 amateur draft from the University of Louisville.


Athletics RHP James Kaprielian (0-6, 8.12 ERA) will make his first start in June after taking the loss in all four starts in May and face RHP Mitch Keller (7-1, 3.25). Keller has eight or more strikeouts in seven consecutive starts, the longest streak by a Pirates pitcher in the modern era (since 1901).