Michael Wacha (12-9) quashed the Cubs' offense for six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and fanning eight on just 60 pitches. Later in the first, Dexter Fowler tripled and scored when Paul DeJong's two-out grounder was booted by fill-in shortstop Mike Freeman.
If last season was about the wait for the Cubs, this one is about the grind. Addison Russell hit the game-winning three-run home run in the seventh, and Wade Davis closed out the game by getting Randal Grichuk to fly out to the wall in center field. Davis, who had struck out in his first three at-bats, came through at the ideal time.
The team saved its best play for the last two months of the season, allowing St. Louis to tease a postseason run over the last three or so weeks. The Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinal 5-1, clinching the National League Central Division for the second consecutive season.
The Cardinals start the night 3 ½ games behind No. H2 wild card Colorado, meaning they would have to beat the ChicagoCubs Thursday and then sweep wild-card contender Milwaukee this weekend to have a chance to tie Colorado.
Commenting on the incident, Chicago Tribune quoted Russell as saying, "Normally I don't do that, but being the case of me being nacho'd all over, my cleats even, I was like, you know what, why not?" No room but the bullpen exists for John Lackey, despite a strong start in the clincher. Still, there was an argument to be made that the series loss was an isolated incident, and the Cardinals future remained bright.
Lackey is 38 and will be a free agent after the season. I'm going to give the edge to the Cubs for one reason, Dusty Baker can't seem to win when it counts, and Joe Maddon has a proven record.
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