Cards eye eighth straight win vs. Cubs
(SportsNetwork.com) - Off to the best start in their modern era, the St. Louis Cardinals look for an eighth consecutive win on Tuesday night when they continue a four-game set with the Chicago Cubs.
The Cardinals came back to pick up a 10-9 win in last night's opener, improving their season mark to 19-6. That includes a 12-2 record at home, where each of their seven straight wins have come.
St. Louis was coming off a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates in which it won each game in extra innings, then battled back from an early hole on Monday. Mark Reynolds helped the comeback bid with a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning after the Cubs had raced out to a 5-0 lead on four straight run-scoring hits and Tony Cruz hit a go-ahead, two-run double during a four-run seventh inning.
"I think I said yesterday that 'wow' was my explanation," Cards manager Mike Matheny told his club's website. "I don't even know what to give you today because, to me, that's just a sign of a tough team, a mentally tough team that is going to be relentless. I hope that's something that we never lose."
Seth Maness surrendered a solo homer to Addison Russell in the ninth inning but picked up his second save.
Anthony Rizzo also homered and Miguel Montero knocked in three runs for the Cubs, who have lost three in a row. Chicago starter Travis Wood hit an RBI single before he even took the mound but was charged with six runs in five- plus innings.
Chicago also lost outfielder Chris Denorfia to a nagging hamstring injury in the third inning on Monday night. He is expected to go on the disabled list after aggravating the ailment while running the bases.
Denorfia opened the season on the DL because of a hamstring issue and was activated on April 17. He is hitting .429 through 12 games this season.
The 27-year-old Tyler Lyons will be recalled to make the start tonight for the Cardinals after Tim Cooney failed in his attempt to replace the injured Adam Wainwright in the rotation. Wainwright is out for the season following left Achilles surgery and Cooney yielded three runs on seven hits over 2 1/3 innings of a no-decision on Thursday.
Lyons has gone 2-8 with a 4.62 earned run average in 23 career games, including 12 starts. The southpaw is 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA in four games (1) versus the Cubs and 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Memphis this season.
"We have a pretty good idea of what he can do, just the consistency of holding through a game," Matheny told his club's website on Sunday. "Holding it from start to start, and part of that is just a young player, and hopefully he's making those moves in a right direction."
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks goes tonight and finally picked up his first decision in four outings this season last time out, but it was a tough-luck 8-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
Hendricks only allowed two runs over five innings on five hits and three walks. He struck out six, but was tagged for an RBI single in the fourth before walking in a run the next inning.
"They just had a good approach at the plate tonight," said Hendricks. "They laid off some good pitches."
The right-hander has a 5.23 ERA on the season and is 0-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three prior meetings with the Cardinals.
The Cubs and Cardinals split a weather-shortened two-game set in Chicago to begin the season. St. Louis won six of 10 at home versus the Cubs last season.