ST. LOUIS (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt is so hot at the plate, not even Yu Darvish can slow him down.
Goldschmidt homered for the seventh time in eight games, a go-ahead drive off Darvish in the sixth inning that lifted the St. Louis Cardinals over the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Tuesday night and back into sole possession of the NL Central lead.
Goldschmidt was 1 for 14 against Darvish before hitting a single and the winning home run.
A six-time All-Star, Goldschmidt drove a fastball from Darvish (3-5) to center for his 25th home run this season.
“I haven’t had too much success against Darvish,” Goldschmdit said. “I was just trying to get on base. Fortunately, I got enough of it to get it out of here.”
Goldschmidt is hitting .364 (12 for 33) in his last eight games with 14 RBIs. He has 11 home runs in July, which ties his career high for a month.
“This is something I’ve never done, hit home runs like this,” Goldschmidt said. “This game is crazy. Just enjoy the good times and forget about the bad.”
Chicago manager Joe Maddon knew how hot Goldschmidt has been lately.
“We didn’t want him to beat us and he did,” Maddon said.
St. Louis (57-49) dropped out of first place on May 7 but has held at least a share of the lead since Thursday and moved one game ahead of the Cubs (56-50).
Giovanny Gallegos (3-1) retired Kyle Schwarber on a bases-loaded flyout that ended the sixth after he relieved Adam Wainwright, who allowed one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“We’ve got a guy that is effective the same against lefties as he is against righties,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said about Gallegos. “We trust Gio. He throws strikes and has got two out pitches.”
After a pair of two-out walks in the eighth by Andrew Miller, Carlos Martinez struck out Ian Happ. Martinez then struck out his first two batters in a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances. Martinez was perfect in eight opportunities in July, and this was his third save of four or more outs.
“They are good but we are better,” Martinez said. “We think we are better.”
Darvish gave up two runs and six hits in six innings with nine strikeouts, no walks, a hit batter and two wild pitches. Darvish has 10 wild pitches this season.
“The pitch to Goldschmidt, I should maybe go more in but he’s very good. It was a good pitch,” Darvish said. “He’s a monster. That’s why he could hit that pitch.”
Chicago has lost 21 of its last 29 road games and is 0-8-1 in nine road series since May 27.
Javier Baez hit an RBI single in the fourth that scored Jason Heyward, who singled and advanced to second on Kris Bryant’s fly to deep center. Heyward had his seventh three-hit game this season.
The Cubs stranded 10 baserunners.
“We left a lot of runners on,” Maddon said. “We’ve got to drive them in.
St. Louis tied the score in the bottom half when Jose Martinez and Goldschmidt singled, and Darvish threw a pair of wild pitches