Cards cut down Cubs for series, 1st place

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Steve Over­bey As­so­ci­ated Press

ST. LOUIS — Jack Fla­herty didn’t panic. In­stead, the St. Louis Car­di­nals’ right-han­der sim­ply stayed the course dur­ing a lengthy stretch with­out a vic­tory.

That pa­tience paid off Thurs­day.

Fla­herty struck out nine in seven strong innings and catcher Matt Wi­eters hit a three-run homer as the Car­di­nals beat the Chicago Cubs 8-0 in a matchup of NL Cen­tral lead­ers.

The Car­di­nals won two games in the three-game set and claimed first in the di­vi­sion, a game ahead of Chicago. The Cubs have lost four of six over­all and 11 of their last 16 on the road.

Fla­herty (5-6) al­lowed just one hit and walked two in record­ing his first win since May 14, a span of 79 days and 12 starts.

He threw well at times dur­ing the skid — he al­lowed two earned runs or less in four suc­ces­sive starts com­ing into Thurs­day.

Most im­por­tantly, he re­mained philo­soph­i­cal dur­ing the rough stretch.

“It’s go­ing to take care of it­self nine times out of 10,” Fla­herty said.

It cer­tainly did.

Fla­herty held the Cubs with­out a hit un­til new­comer Ni­cholas Castel­lanos sin­gled to right with two out in the sixth. Fla­herty re­tired 13 straight bat­ters from the first to fifth innings.

“He was in con­trol of what he was do­ing,” St. Louis man­ager Mike Shildt said. “He saw good life to his fast­ball. A lot of qual­ity pitches.”

Chicago left-han­der Jon Lester, the los­ing pitcher, gave Fla­herty credit for a job well done.

“He threw ex­tremely well tonight,” Lester said.

Fla­herty has al­lowed just four runs over his last five starts with a 1.15 ERA cov­er­ing 31 1/3 innings.

“Wi­eters and I were in sync from the get-go,” Fla­herty said. “I made an ad­just­ment on the fast­ball. I was just try­ing to lo­cate and ex­e­cute — keep the ball down.”

Wi­eters capped off a four­run, sixth-in­ning out­burst with a three-run homer off Derek Hol­land to give the Car­di­nals a 6-0 lead.

“I was just try­ing to hit it hard,” Wi­eters said. “Some­times it goes, some­times it doesn’t.”

Jose Martinez, Kolten Wong and Yairo Mu­niz had RBI sin­gles for the Car­di­nals, who are com­ing off a 16-9 record in July.

Lester (9-7) gave up five earned runs on nine hits over five-plus innings. He struck out six and did not walk a bat­ter.

Wong and Paul Dejong had three hits apiece.

Shildt is pleased that his team is on top of the di­vi­sion at the two-third mark of the cam­paign.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the po­si­tion we’re in,” Shildt said. “We want to keep the foot on the gas.”

The Car­di­nals recorded their fifth shutout of the sea­son, all at home.

The home team has won 11 of 12 games be­tween the teams this sea­son. TRAINER’S ROOM Car­di­nals: OF Mar­cell Ozuna, play­ing at Triple-a Mem­phis this week, is likely to join the Car­di­nals in Oak­land on Satur­day. He has been out with two bro­ken fin­gers, suf­fered in late June. C Yadi Molina, out since July 11 with a right thumb strain, will be­gin a re­hab stint in Mem­phis on Fri­day. He is still at least a week away from join­ing the Car­di­nals, ac­cord­ing to man­ager Mike Shildt . ... OF Tyler O’neill has been slowed by a hand in­jury and was left out of the lineup. He is con­sid­ered day to day.

“We don’t think it’s se­ri­ous,” Shildt said.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Jose Quin­tana (8-7, 4.47 ERA) faces off against Mil­wau­kee RHP Zach Davies (8-4, 3.56 ERA) on Fri­day af­ter­noon as the Cubs open up a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Quin­tana is 6-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 14 life­time starts against the Brew­ers.

Car­di­nals: Dakota Hud­son (10-5, 3.88 ERA) squares off Satur­day against Oak­land’s Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.54 ERA) in the first of a two-game set in Oak­land fol­low­ing a rare Fri­day night off. Hud­son al­lowed three home runs in his last out­ing — a 6-2 loss to Hous­ton on Sun­day.

JEFF ROBERSON/AP

St. Louis Car­di­nals start­ing pitcher Jack Fla­herty throws dur­ing the sixth in­ning of the team’s base­ball game against the Chicago Cubs on Thurs­day, Aug. 1, 2019, in St. Louis.

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