Cubs come up short in first chance to clinch NL Central
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk homered and drove in two runs each and the St. Louis Cardinals denied the Chicago Cubs a chance at clinching the NL Central with an 8-7 victory Tuesday night.
Matt Carpenter and Jedd Gyorko also homered for St. Louis, which remains 2 1/2 games behind the second Wild Card spot. Zach Duke (1-1) got the win with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Juan Nicasio earned his fifth save.
The Cubs were seeking to clinch the Central division with either a win or a Milwaukee loss against Cincinnati, but the Brewers beat the Reds 7-6.
Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez allowed three runs (two earned) and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (14-10) allowed five runs (three earned) and six hits in three innings, his second shortest outing this season.
St. Louis scored five runs in the first two innings off Arrieta.
Carpenter led off the bottom of the first with his 23rd home run.
The homer, his 15th career leadoff shot, was just his second hit in 33 career at-bats against Arrieta, who was his teammate at TCU and a groomsman in Carpenter’s wedding. Both those hits are homers.
The Cardinals added two runs in the first. Dexter Fowler, who hit a triple, scored on a two-out fielding error by shortstop Mike Freeman. Then Grichuk followed with an RBI triple.
Chicago scored in the second when Ian Happ tripled and scored on a groundout by Kyle Schwarber.
Pham hit a two-run home run, his 23rd, to left field in the second to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 5-1.
The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth but only scored one run, which came on a catcher’s interference.
Paul DeJong had an RBI double in the fifth for St. Louis.
Gyorko and Grichuk both hit solo home runs in the seventh, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 8-3. Gyorko’s home run was his 20th. Grichuk’s his 21st.
Jason Heyward hit a three-run home run, his 11th, off reliever John Brebbia in the eighth to cut the deficit to 8-6. Ben Zobrist hit a solo homer off Brebbia, his 12th, to make it 8-7.