The good news for the Cubs was that Anthony Rizzo got to Cardinals starter Michael Wacha right away with a leadoff walk in the first inning.
The bad news was that it left Rizzo at first base, a long, lonely way from home for a guy playing on a sprained right ankle.
Rizzo had a tough day on the bases in a 2-1 loss Friday that dealt a painful blow to the Cubs’ postseason chances. He was doubled off first after the aforementioned walk, unable or unwilling to shift his weight to try to beat shortstop Paul DeJong’s throw to the bag after Nick Castellanos’ line drive.
After singling two innings later, Rizzo advanced to second on a single by Castellanos and then held up at third on a base hit by Kris Bryant that, on a healthy day, would have scored him easily.
Rizzo left the game after the fifth, planning to give it another go Saturday.
‘‘It felt good today,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s just day by day.’’
No matter how the season shakes out, will he feel good about his decision to play while injured?
‘‘I have no idea,’’ he said. ‘‘I play baseball. Leave it on the field. That’s what you do as a competitor. You want to win. You want to win games.’’
Ten days since he last pitched, reliever Brandon Kintzler, working toward a return from a strained left oblique, was scheduled for a bullpen session. Instead, he told manager Joe Maddon he was available to pitch.
Kintzler didn’t get into the game but likely will be in the plans for Saturday.
‘‘Rizzo inspired me,’’ he said. ‘‘I can’t sit here and worry about an oblique when this guy’s got one leg.’’
With his double in the fifth, Castellanos because the 13th player since 1871 to reach 57 in a season. The last to do it: the Rockies’ Todd Helton (59) and the Blue Jays’ Carlos Delgado (57), both in 2000.
The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina had three hits, giving him 217 against the Cubs, tied with the Reds’ Joey Votto for the most among active players.