CHICAGO — The Cubs hit two home runs on Saturday against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, one of which maybe could have been expected but one of which came as a complete shock.
Combined, the two blasts sent the Cardinals to their third consecutive loss, their longest losing streak of the season.
Javier Baez hit the homer which might have been expected, off John Brebbia, leading off the eighth inning in a 5-5 game. Baez hit five homers off the Cardinals last season, tied for the second most by an opponent, just one less than Christian Yelich of the Brewers.
The game was tied at that point because of the unexpected homer, a grand slam hit by catcher Taylor Davis off Michael Wacha in the fourth inning, wiping out a 5-1 Cardinals lead.
It was the first home run in Davis’ career, coming in his 17th game in the majors, spread across the last three seasons all with the Cubs. He was 5-of-23 in his career coming into the game with the only extra base hit a double in 2017.
Davis, batting eighth in the Cubs’ lineup, hit Wacha’s first pitch, an 89 miles per hour cutter, 416 feet into the bleachers in left center after the Cardinals had intentionally walked Kyle Schwarber to load the bases.
It was the first grand slam hit by the Cubs’ eighth-place hitter against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field since Jody Davis, also a catcher, on July 12, 1983.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate:
The Cardinals built the 5-1 lead in large part because of Wacha, who had only the second two-hit game of his career, both coming at Wrigley. He doubled down the third-base line leading off the third and then scored on a double by Matt Carpenter. In the fourth, his single drove in two runs in a three-run inning, following back to back unintentional walks that loaded the bases … Carpenter had his first three-hit game of the season, getting his average back above .200 at .207
The first Cardinals run came on Jose Martinez’s second homer of the season. He also doubled and flew out to the wall in center field.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the fifth but failed to score when Dexter Fowler, back in the starting lineup, hit into a fielder’s choice with the out at the plate, and Kolten Wong grounded out.
The Cardinals also left the bases loaded in the seventh when pinch-hitter Matt Wieters fouled out to end the inning.
On the mound:
Wacha allowed an unearned run in the first inning because of a two-base error by Fowler before running into trouble in the fourth. A sacrifice following a pair of singles left first base open for the intentional walk which led to the grand slam by Davis. It was the third grand slam allowed by Wacha, with both of the others coming in 2015.
The Cubs did not have a hit after Davis’ homer before Baez’s blast leading off the eighth with John Gant striking out the side in the sixth and Andrew Miller working a 1-2-3 seventh.
Key stat: After going hitless in four at-bats on Friday, Paul Goldschmidt was 0-of-5 on Saturday. In 22 previous games at Wrigley he had gone hitless in two consecutive games only once, and they were spread across two seasons, his final game there as a rookie in 2012 and his first game in 2013.
The Cardinals stole a season-high four bases, equaling their most in a game at Wrigley since they stole six in a game in 1987. The steals came from Paul DeJong, Carpenter, Yadier Molina and Fowler, who worked a double steal.
Before the game the Cardinals activated reliever Luke Gregerson from the injured list and optioned outfielder Tyler O’Neill to Memphis.
In a pair of minor-league promotions, pitcher Johan Oviedo, who was 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA at Palm Beach, moved up to Double-A Springfield on Saturday while pitcher Tommy Parsons, who was off to a 4-0 start with an 0.26 ERA at Peoria, was assigned to Palm Beach.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will send Adam Wainwright to the mound on Sunday night to try to avoid being swept in the series. It will be Wainwright’s 21st career start at Wrigley Field, where he has gone 11-3. He was 1-1 in two starts there last season.