Castro, Rizzo lead Cubs to 8-5 win over Cardinals

Mike Matheny
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny looks over his shoulder toward the field after looking at a line-up card taped to the dugout wall during the fourth inning of the Cardinals' baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo homered and combined for seven RBIs and the Chicago Cubs earned their fifth straight win, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 8-5 in the middle game of a three-game series on Tuesday night.

The Cardinals have the best record in the majors at 87-51, but have dropped five of six. Their lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central slipped to 4 1/2 games. The Cubs are 6 1/2 back and are second in the NL wild card race behind the Pirates.

St. Louis was down 8-0 and had been outscored 24-1 over three games before pinch-hitter Randal Grichuk sparked a five-run seventh with a two-run homer estimated at 451 feet into Big Mac Land in the seventh. Grichuk was activated from the disabled list strictly to pinch run on Monday.

Pedro Strop struck out Grichuk with the bases loaded to end the threat, pumping his fist as he jumped off the mound. Hector Rondon earned his 27th save in 31 chances.

Rookie Stephen Piscotty had two hits and two RBIs for St. Louis.

Jason Hammel (8-6) allowed three runs in six-plus innings for Chicago, which has won five in a row.

Michael Wacha (15-5) gave up six runs in four innings, his shortest outing of the season and on 10 days’ rest. Like Lance Lynn a day earlier, the 24-year-old right-hander got pushed back and it backfired.

Lynn, held back three days by a sprained ankle he claimed felt fine, was spanked for six runs in 2 1-3 innings on Monday in a 9-0 loss.

Wacha had been 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in six career September starts.


Rizzo’s two-run homer in the first was the 100th of his career, and he added an RBI single against Carlos Villanueva in the seventh. He’s 8 for 19 against Wacha with two homers and four RBIs. Castro hit a three-run homer off Wacha (15-5) in the second. He’s 9 for 19 against the right-hander with two homers and six RBIs.


Cubs: Kyle Schwarber (oblique/ribs) grounded out pinch hitting in the eighth and could return to the lineup Wednesday after missing five games.

Cardinals: Kolten Wong (calf tightness) missed his second straight start.


Jon Lester (9-10, 3.59) is 1-2 but with a 1.96 ERA in three starts against St. Louis this season. Carlos Martinez (13-7, 3.04) is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA against the Cubs.

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