Cardinals rally in the eighth and then hold off Cubs for a 7-6 victory

ST. LOUIS — Brendan Donovan had a two-run single, Lars Nootbaar added an RBI triple and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied in the eighth inning and then held off the Chicago Cubs for a 7-6 victory Saturday night.

In front of their first sellout crowd since opening day, the Cardinals scored four times with two outs in the eighth and won for the ninth time in 11 games in a surge that followed a seven-game losing streak.

Matt Carpenter had a pinch-hit single to tie it, with Alec Burleson sliding head first and touching home plate with his left hand just before he was tagged by catcher Miguel Amaya. Donovan followed by chopping a single into left field to put St. Louis up 6-4 and chase Mark Leiter Jr. (1-2). Nootbaar added a crucial run with his triple off Porter Hodge.

John Helsley gave up RBI singles by Mike Tauchman and Cody Bellinger in the ninth, but he retired Christopher Morel on a grounder to secure his 16th save in 17 chances.

The Cubs went ahead in the seventh with a rally that started after Michael Busch reached when the ball squirted out of Paul Goldschmidt’s glove when he tried to catch a throw from second baseman Nolan Gorman. After Swanson walked, Patrick Wisdom pulled a tiebreaking RBI double just inside third base to score Busch.

JoJo Romero (2-0) got the final out of the seventh and pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win.

Nico Hoerner hit a two-run double in the fourth that just cleared a leaping Donovan and hit the bullpen wall in left field. He then scored on Busch’s single to center to give the Cubs their first lead.

Masyn Winn’s two-out RBI double to the left-field corner in the sixth made it 3-3 and brought Jameson Taillon’s outing to an end. Taillon gave up three runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and one walk.

The Cardinals took an early 2-0 lead while debuting their City Connect jerseys featuring red shirts with the words “The Lou” — the city nickname popularized by hip-hop artist Nelly’s 2000 breakthrough hit “Country Grammar” — stitched over the familiar “Birds on the Bat” logo from the franchise’s normal home uniforms.

Goldschmidt followed back-to-back singles by Donovan and Nootbaar with a slow rolling RBI groundout, and Nolan Arenado tacked on an RBI single to center field.

That’s when the trouble started for Miles Mikolas, who got inning-ending double plays in the first and second innings. Mikolas allowed three runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two.

The Cubs decided to skip of rookie sensation Shota Imanaga (5-0, 0.84 ERA), the scheduled starter in Friday night’s rainout. Manager Craig Counsell described it as “a proactive move” with Imanaga on track for 170-plus innings this season, noting Imanaga was surprised by the decision.

“He is making a transition into a different league, to a different schedule, to a different travel schedule, to a different culture. And know that that puts more on him,” Counsell said. “Like I said, if we could just take a small, small piece and do some things to refill the tank, so to speak, that in the long run, it could be beneficial.”


Cubs: Counsell said OF Ian Happ didn’t start because of an illness. He pinch hit in the ninth inning and flied out. … LHP Drew Smyly (right hip impingement) rejoined the team after a month on the injured list, and RHP José Cuas was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for him on the roster. … LHP Jordan Wicks (left forearm strain) threw two shutout innings in a rehab start for Iowa on Friday night, giving up two hits while striking out three. RHP Daniel Palencia retired all five batters he faced, including three on strikeouts, in the same game.

Cardinals: RHP Giovanny Gallegos, who rejoined the team after a rehab stint with Double-A Springfield, threw a bullpen session. … Manager Oliver Marmol did not have an update on RHP Keynan Middleton (right forearm flexor strain), who had one-inning relief appearances for Springfield on Wednesday and Thursday. He allowed a solo home run in Wednesday’s appearance and yielded three walks Thursday.


Chicago RHP Javier Assad (4-0, 1.70) looks to continue his strong start against St. Louis ace Sonny Gray (6-2, 2.87) in the series finale Sunday night.



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