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Hendricks stymies Cardinals (again), sends Cubs to 5-1 victory and season series split

Hendricks stymies Cardinals (again), sends Cubs to 5-1 victory and season series split

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St. Louis Cardinals' Paul DeJong right, celebrates with teammate Harrison Bader (48) after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

CHICAGO — When the Cardinals finally made their return to the field after an outbreak that stretched 17 days, they did so in Chicago and delighted in the fact that they were able to break even during an eight-game stay in the Windy City.

Playing .500 ball, they said, is the goal of any road swing.

That may still hold true even with a few home games sprinkled in at a road ballpark.

The Cardinals played to a 5-5 draw in 10 games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field after losing 5-1 on Monday. That concludes the regular-season series between two rivals who could yet meet in the playoffs. Kyle Hendricks continued his hex on the Cardinals by holding them to one run on seven hits through eight innings. The Cardinals needed three hits to produce that one run as Hendricks tinkered with their timing all game, and only let one runner reach third -- the same runner that scored.

Johan Oviedo pitched 4 2/3 innings and struck out one while scattering eight hits. Two of the five runs he allowed were unearned because of two errors by the Cardinals on consecutive pitches (see below).

The rookie impressed with how he was able to use his stuff to sneak outs from the aggressive Cubs, not overpower them. 

Yadier Molina had difficulty extending his left elbow on his swing during the game and left with a contusion. The Cardinals expect him to be available to play Tuesday at Busch Stadium when they host the Twins.

The Cardinals went 5-3 on the road trip to Cincy and Wrigley.

They have won three consecutive series and trail the first-place Cubs by 2 1/2 games in the standings. They have two fewer losses than the Cubs.

***

Cardinals' errors on consecutive plays allow Cubs to pull away with 5-0 lead, Hendricks cruising

It took three pitches for Monday afternoon's game at Wrigley Field to twist from a close game looking to find its pace to one that could have ripple effects into Tuesday for the Cardinals.

In the fifth inning, the Cubs had a 3-0 lead for pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who has pitched like he's needed even less than that.

On three consecutive pitches from rookie Johan Oviedo, the Cubs widened that to 5-0, and not one of the additional runs was earned.

Javier Baez hit a groundball to third that Matt Carpenter gloved and threw wide to receive a throwing error. Kyle Schwarber followed with a groundball on Oviedo's next pitch that could have been a double play. Second baseman Kolten Wong threw wide to pivot and the ball went into left field. Instead of two outs, Oviedo now had to deal with two Cubs, both in scoring position.

The next pitch, Willson Contreras poked into left field to score both of his teammates on a two-RBI single.

The errors proved costly on the scoreboard -- and beyond. The Cardinals were clearly trying to get Oviedo through five innings and leave one fewer inning for the bullpen to cover on the eve of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Twins. Oviedo got two outs in the fourth and then the Cardinals went to lefty Tyler Webb.

He is in to absorb innings and save others for the doubleheader.

Oviedo needed 96 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings, and he allowed eight hits, and only struck out one.

Hendricks has been exactly like Hendricks usually is against Cardinals.

He's toying with a shutout through six. He has been efficient with the exception of one blip in the third inning. And the Cardinals haven't done much to challenge him. Harrison Bader had his third double in two days, and he got all the way to third. He's the only Cardinal to get there.

Matt Wieters replaced Yadier Molina for the bottom of the sixth inning. Molina left the game with a bruised left elbow. The team announced that it was a precautionary move.

***

With another spike in speed and production, Bader lengthens his looks from center

A question asked a few times already this season, by broadcasters on the South Side of Chicago and reporters in the Queen City of Cincinnati, is whether there is a baseball cap that has been made that will stay on Harrison Bader's flowing locks.

He's left behind his cap chasing down fly balls from Wrigley to Busch, and even Guaranteed Rate in between.

The White Sox broadcasters referred to one Bader catch as a "shampoo commercial."

Well, it's about to get more hair time.

Er, air time.

The Cardinals' outfielder, sent chasing after foul balls in the stands earlier in this series against the Cubs, has tightened his grip on playing time in center field by being a part of the Cardinals' three-game winning streak. Three hits, two doubles, and one hit by pitch had Bader on base four times in Sunday night's victory on the national telecast. He had a sacrifice fly in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader sweep, and for the first time on the road he's got back-to-back starts, back at No. 9 for the Labor Day matinee against the Cubs.

Rookie Johan Oviedo makes his second start at Wrigley Field. He made his major-league debut earlier this season with five innings against the Cubs, and he draws a duel with Kyle Hendricks. The pinpoint precision righthander with the changeup has been a challenge for the geared-up, fastball-feasting Cardinals.

This will be Hendrick's 20 start against the Cardinals, and he has a 3.00 ERA in 120 innings.

He's 8-3.

The Cubs have relied heavily on Darvish and Hendricks to power their rise to first-place in the NL Central. The lineup remains meek at Wrigley, where the wind blowing out didn't help them after the second inning Sunday. They failed to get a runner to third base against the Cardinals' bullpen in the loss.

This will be the final game of the 10 played between the Cardinals and Cubs this season. All 10 have been played at Wrigley due to the outbreak that interrupted the Cardinals' August schedule.

All 10 will be played before the Cardinals play Milwaukee once.

The Cardinals have a 5-4 edge in the first nine.

The NL standings entering Sunday's game had the Cardinals and Cubs playing each other in the first round of the 16-team playoffs, and that three-game playoff series, as of right now, would also be at Wrigley. So the Cardinals could be back -- for a third time in 2020.

Some notes:

• Carlos Martinez will start Game 1 on Tuesday, as advertised.

• Daniel Ponce de Leon will be the 29th man for the doubleheader against the Twins, and he's on target to start Game 2.

• The advertised six-man rotation will be rethought with Kwang Hyun Kim out for at least another week. Ponce de Leon could obviously have a say in that with his performance vs. Twins.

Here are the lineups for Monday's season series finale:

1. Wong, 2B

2. Edman, RF

3. Goldschmidt, 1B

4. B. Miller, DH

5. DeJong, SS

6. Molina, C

7. Carpenter, 3B

8. O'Neill, LF

9. Bader, CF

Starting pitcher: Johan Oviedo, RHP (0-1, 4.30)

CUBS

1. Happ, CF

2. Bryant, 3B

3. Rizzo, 1B

4. Baez, SS

5. Schwarber, LF

6. Contreras, DH

7. Caratini, C

8. Maybin, RF

9. Kipnis, 2B

Starting pitcher: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (4-4, 3.78 ERA)

Check back throughout the holiday afternoon for news, notes, coverage, quotes, anecdotes, the usual wind puns, etc. from Wrigley Field. 

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