Wainwright pitches Cardinals past Cubs at chilly Wrigley
CHICAGO (AP) — The gametime temperature was 35 degrees, and a 10 mph wind made it feel even worse. The heaters roared in each dugout, and the announced crowd of 35,103 bundled up in winter coats, hats and blankets.
It was one of the coldest games of Adam Wainwright’s career, but he deftly skated his way to another victory at Wrigley Field.
Wainwright pitched five effective innings, Matt Carpenter drove in three runs and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 on Tuesday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
The Cubs put at least one runner on in every inning against Wainwright but only managed an unearned run in the fourth. The 6-foot-7 right-hander allowed four hits, struck out five and walked four while improving to 11-2 in 24 career games at Chicago’s iconic neighborhood ballpark.
“He competes, there’s no question,” manager Mike Matheny said. “I mean this guy figures out a way to get things done.”
That was most evident in the third, when Wainwright (1-2) froze Kyle Schwarber with a big curveball for a called strike three with the bases loaded and two out.
“When I was in the moment, I felt like all right, this is the game right here,” Wainwright said. “That’s what I felt like. So I felt like if we got out of that situation we were going to win the game.”
While Wainwright delivered at key moments, Tyler Chatwood (0-3) had an erratic outing for the Cubs. The right-hander issued seven walks in 4 2/3 innings, one off his career high. He struck out seven and yielded two runs and one hit.
Chatwood has 14 walks in 15 2/3 innings in his first three starts after signing a $38 million, three-year contract with Chicago over the winter.
“I think I’ve just got to be better with my command,” he said. “It was cold but you could still grip the ball. Everyone had to deal with so it wasn’t that bad.”
Carpenter had two hits in the first meeting of the season between the longtime rivals. The Cardinals went 5-14 against the NL Central champion Cubs last year, including just one win in nine games at Wrigley.
Bud Norris got five outs for his fourth save. Willson Contreras singled with two out in the ninth, but Norris struck out Schwarber looking to end the game.
“Bud was just, you know that was fantastic,” Matheny said.
Javier Baez hit a two-run homer off Greg Holland in the eighth, but Chicago lost for the third time in four games. The Cubs hadn’t played since Saturday after their series finale against Atlanta and Game 1 against St. Louis were postponed due to lousy weather.
“You know those sunny days are coming, both on the field and as a group, so we’ll just keep playing through it,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was activated from the disabled list after being sidelined by lower back tightness.
Chatwood’s wildness caught up to him in the third. After Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham opened the inning with consecutive walks, Carpenter hit an RBI double off the base of the wall in right. Marcell Ozuna then drove in Pham with a grounder to shortstop.
The Cardinals added three more after Pedro Strop retired the first two batters in the eighth. Paul DeJong drove a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left for his fifth homer, snapping a 1-for-16 slide, and Carpenter added a two-run single.
Rizzo was hit by Wainwright’s first pitch to him in the first inning. He went 0 for 3 with a walk.
Infielder/outfielder Efren Navarro was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Rizzo on the roster.
Cardinals: Jose Martinez started at first after he left Sunday’s 3-2 victory at Cincinnati following a collision with Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart. He went 0 for 4 with a walk.
Cubs: RF Ben Zobrist was scratched with back tightness. Ian Happ replaced Zobrist in the leadoff spot and started in center field. Jason Heyward moved from center to right.
Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver and Cubs left-hander Jon Lester are slated to pitch Wednesday afternoon, but there is more inclement weather in the forecast. Weaver (2-0, 2.08 ERA) made his major league debut at Wrigley Field on Aug. 13, 2016. Lester (1-0, 4.40 ERA) went 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts against St. Louis last year.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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