Tyler Chatwood was in big trouble when Chicago pitching coach Jim Hickey and his whole infield visited him in the fifth inning. The bases were loaded in a tie game, but first baseman Anthony Rizzo assured Chatwood the Cubs were about to turn a 6-4-3 double play and then score some runs.
He was pretty close.
Chatwood got Paul DeJong to bounce right back to him for a 1-2-3 double play, a key moment in the Cubs’ 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
“That’s the game. That’s the game-changer,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s the seminal moment.”
Chatwood (4-5) issued two of his six walks, hit Yadier Molina and threw two balls to DeJong before Rizzo’s almost prophetic mound visit. A fired-up Chatwood yelled as he came off the mound after the play and gave catcher Victor Caratini a high-five.
“Obviously I got in the way of the 6-4-3 double play,” Chatwood said. “It turned into a 1-2-3, and sure enough they went in and scored some runs the next inning. It was pretty cool to see that happen.”
The Cubs then grabbed the lead with three straight singles in the bottom half. Javier Baez chased Luke Weaver (5-9) with his liner into right field, and Kyle Schwarber made it a 3-1 with a sacrifice fly off Mike Mayers.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt was left to lament what might have been had DeJong’s bouncer got past Chatwood.
“He puts a good swing on a pitch he can do some damage with,” Shildt said. “He hits it hard, Chatwood makes the play and gets a double play. We go back out and (they) get a couple of softer hits, the ball down the line by Baez.”
Chatwood’s season-long control problems continued in his first win since May 11. But the right-hander allowed just one hit in 5 1/3 innings — Matt Carpenter’s fourth homer in the last two days.
Ben Zobrist went 4 for 4 and scored twice as NL Central-leading Chicago bounced back nicely from an 18-5 loss to St. Louis on Friday. Baez had three hits and two RBIs, and Tommy La Stella also drove in two runs in the makeup of an April 16 rainout.
“I thought we just really worked the field well,” Maddon said. “A lot of good at-bats.”
St. Louis pulled within one on Molina’s sacrifice fly in the seventh, but Chicago responded with four runs in the bottom half. Baez drove in Jason Heyward with a bloop double, Victor Caratini had a sacrifice fly and La Stella capped the scoring with a two-out, two-run single.
The Cardinals finished with two hits in their fifth loss in seven games. Weaver allowed seven hits and walked five in his team-high 20th start of the season.
“It’s one of those days that’s frustrating and you just have to give it everything you’ve got,” Weaver said.
Carpenter’s one-out drive in the third landed in the basket in right field, tying it at 1 with his 24th of the season and extending his homer streak to five straight games. He went 5 for 5 with three homers, two doubles and seven RBIs while playing just six innings in Friday’s runaway win.
On a blustery day at Wrigley Field, Carpenter also flied out to the warning track in center with two runners on in the seventh.
“You talk about the definition of locked in; that’s what it looks like,” Shildt said. “He’s got his own personal plan, and he’s committed to it and he’s putting good swings on the ball.”
Jesse Chavez pitched two perfect innings in his debut with Chicago, which acquired the veteran reliever in a trade with Texas on Thursday. He was added to the roster when the Cubs placed right-hander Anthony Bass on the 10-day disabled list as part of a flurry of pregame moves.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. The move is retroactive to Friday, a day after Martinez struggled through five innings in a 9-6 loss to the Cubs. RHP Miles Mikolas was activated from the paternity list and reliever John Brebbia was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals had an open roster spot after reliever Matt Bowman was sent down following their 18-5 win.
Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana starts Sunday for the first time since July 10. He has been working on his changeup with pitching coach Jim Hickey, but Maddon said he also has been dealing with some shoulder fatigue. “Nothing awful,” Maddon said. “Just give him a couple extra days.”
Cardinals right-hander John Gant (3-3, 3.49 ERA) and Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery (3-3, 3.91 ERA) start the second game of the doubleheader.