ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals’ push for a division title will go down to the final day of the regular season following an 8-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.
Adam Wainwright (14-10) allowed four homers for the first time in his career, but the Cardinals maintained a one-game lead over Milwaukee for the NL Central lead when the Brewers lost 3-2 in 10 innings at Colorado. If the teams are tied after Sunday’s regular season finales, they will play a tiebreaking Game 163 in St. Louis on Monday. The second-place finisher will play in the NL wild-card game at Washington on Tuesday.
Yadier Molina shouted at Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels after being grazed by a fastball in the second inning, sparking a benches-clearing fracas. No punches were thrown, but Chicago landed some haymakers anyway — two homers from Ian Happ and one each from Kyle Schwarber and Victor Caratini assured the Cubs their first series win at Busch Stadium this season.
Hamels allowed two hits and struck out eight in four innings after Cubs manager Joe Maddon said pregame that he would be limited to three innings. Hamels was making his first start since Sept. 16 after dealing with left shoulder tightness. Chicago has been eliminated from postseason contention.
Steve Cishek (4-6) and four other relievers turned a lead over to Brandon Kintzler, who pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.
Wainwright allowed six runs on a career high-tying 12 hits, snapping a string of six straight starts without a loss.
Molina was awarded first base after Hamels’ 91 mph pitch clipped his left arm. He took a few steps toward first and stared at Hamels, then began barking at him and walked toward the mound. Cubs catcher Jonathan Lucroy stepped between Molina and Hamels, and St. Louis teammate Matt Carpenter dragged Molina away while players poured onto the field. No warnings or ejections were issued.
Schwarber launched the first pitch he saw from Wainwright into the right field bleachers for his 38th home run. Happ hit a two-run homer in the third and another in the fifth for his fifth career multi-home run game and first this season. He has 11 home runs since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa on July 26.
Harrison Bader broke up the Cubs’ shutout when he hit his 11th homer of the season off Kyle Ryan in the fifth inning. Tommy Edman added a two-run triple and an RBI single, and Paul Goldschmidt batted with the bases loaded in the seventh but grounded into a double play.
St. Louis’ Paul DeJong hit his 30th homer off Pedro Strop in the eighth, trailing only Colorado’s Trevor Story (35) for the lead among NL shortstops. Story hit a game-ending homer for Colorado to sink Milwaukee.