ST. LOUIS — The Chicago Cubs hope they can solve their offensive struggles quickly against St. Louis left-hander Tyler Lyons.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria is starting right fielder Nate Schierholtz, who is batting .172 against left-handers this season, in hopes he can regain his success against left-handers. Schierholtz hit a two-run double Sunday to account for the Cubs’ offense in a 5-2 loss at Atlanta.
The Cubs pounced on Lyons for four runs in the first and didn’t let up as they rolled to a 17-5 win over the Cardinals. Junior Lake led the way with a career-high six RBIs.
The Cubs set season highs with 17 runs and 20 hits – surpassing their previous marks of 12 runs and 15 hits against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Their six-run ninth marked their largest rally of the season, and Cardinals infielder Daniel Descalso was called upon to pitch and retire Mike Olt on a fly to left for the final out of the inning.
Every Cubs starting position player, led by Lake (four hits), had at least one hit.
Emilio Bonifacio, who was in a 3-for-28 slump, led off with a double and scored on a passed ball by Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina. Starlin Castro hit a triple down the right field line to score Anthony Rizzo, and Olt capped the rally with his eighth home run – a two-run, opposite field shot to right.
Left-hander Travis Wood helped his cause in the second by legging out an infield hit. Lake capped the rally with a three-run homer.
But Lake cost the Cubs a run when he completely missed fielding Mark Ellis’ single to left, allowing the second Cardinals’ run to score. The Cubs’ poor defense allowed the Cardinals to cut a 9-2 deficit in the bottom of the fifth.
Wood hit two batters before Matt Holliday poked an RBI double down the right field line. Allen Craig hit a grounder to third with Jhonny Peralta breaking from third to home plate. Mike Olt could have thrown to home plate to nail Peralta by 45 feet but elected to throw to first for the out and allow the Cardinals to cut the lead to 9-4.
Molina hit an RBI single and moved to second when the throw from Bonifacio in center fielder sailed over the cutoff man and off the glove of Welington Castillo.
Lake hit an RBI double in the top of the fifth, and Renteria won a challenge on a fielder’s choice at home plate that overruled an out call at home plate by home plate umpire Sean Barber.
Wood, who allowed four earned runs in six innings, because the first Cubs starting pitcher to pitch at least six innings and allow more than three earned runs and receive credit for a win since Matt Garza against Milwaukee on June 16, 2011.
Garza was charged with five earned runs in six innings of a 12-7 win.