Cubs D makes the difference in 2-1 win over Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Albert Almora Jr. robbed Matt Adams of a home run and Javier Baez made a terrific sliding stop on Kolten Wong’s game-ending grounder, sending Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs to a 2-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

It looked as if the Cardinals had tied the game in the seventh, but Almora tracked Adams’ deep fly ball to the wall and hauled it in with a leaping grab at the top of the fence in center. A pumped-up Almora then celebrated with left fielder Kyle Schwarber as Adams tipped his batting helmet in appreciation of the catch.

St. Louis had a runner on first in the ninth when Baez went into short right field to take a hit away from Wong. The Cardinals challenged the bang-bang play, but the call stood.

Arrieta pitched six innings of one-run ball, helping the World Series champions bounce back from a wild 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Sunday night. Willson Contreras hit a tying three-run homer in the ninth inning of the opener, but the Cardinals won it in the bottom half on Randal Grichuk’s game-ending single.

Arrieta improved to 8-2 in 14 career starts against St. Louis. Koji Uehara then worked the seventh and Pedro Strop got three outs before Wade Davis finished for his first save since he was acquired in an offseason trade with Kansas City.

Adam Wainwright allowed two runs and three hits in five innings for St. Louis. The right-hander is hoping to bounce back this season after recording a 4.62 ERA last year.

The Cardinals also lost Stephen Piscotty to a head contusion in the fifth, part of a rough inning for the outfielder. He will be evaluated again on Wednesday.

Piscotty reached when he was hit by a pitch from Arrieta. He was hit again by Contreras’ throw when he stole second. He then scored from second on Wong’s infield hit to the right side of the mound, but he was hit in the head by Baez’s throw home.

Baez was charged with two errors on the play. Piscotty, who agreed to a $33.5 million, six-year contract a day earlier, was down on the field for several minutes. He eventually walked off the field.

Chicago jumped in front with two in the fourth. Addison Russell doubled and scored on Jason Heyward’s single to center. Contreras then scampered home on Baez’s safety squeeze.