Wacha, Cardinals down Cubs
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Wacha earned his first win in more than a month and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs, 5-3, in the rubber match of a three-game set on Thursday.
Wacha (3-3), who also hit a two-run single, struck out five and surrendered two runs on seven hits over seven innings for the Cardinals, who have won three of their last four games.
"I was able to pound the strike zone down in the zone and it was pretty effective," Wacha said.
The fireballer had been 0-3 in his last five starts since beating the Cubs on April 13.
Trevor Rosenthal tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his 11th save of the season.
Starlin Castro smacked a two-run homer among his three hits for Chicago, which has dropped five of its last six games. Jason Hammel (4-2) struck out six, but surrendered five runs on five hits and two walks over 5 1/3 frames in defeat.
The Cardinals opened the scoring with a four-run second and never looked back.
Yadier Molina hit a one-out double before Allen Craig and Peter Bourjos worked walks to load the bases. Mark Ellis' groundout scored Molina and Wacha followed with his two-run single back up the middle. Matt Carpenter then laced a double into right-center to bring home Wacha.
Chicago got a pair of runs back in the fourth when Anthony Rizzo led off with a bunt single against the shift and Castro followed with his two-run shot down the left-field line to cut the gap to 4-2.
"Rizzo took advantage of the shift," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "That led to our first two runs when Starlin drove the ball out of the ballpark."
Matt Holliday began the sixth with a two-bagger into right-center and scored on Molina's base hit into left for a 5-2 Cardinals spread.
Junior Lake's sacrifice fly in the eighth cut Chicago's deficit to 5-3.
Wacha threw 77 of his 104 pitches for strikes ... The Cardinals were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position, while Chicago finished 0-for-5 and left eight men on base.
05/15 18:29:08 ET