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Cubs starter Keegan Thompson strikes out 7 in 3 innings

“I thought Keegan looked a lot more like himself,” manager David Ross said. “Really nice job from him.”

Cubs starter Keegan Thompson allowed one run and three hits in three innings Sunday against the Cardinals.
Cubs starter Keegan Thompson allowed one run and three hits in three innings Sunday against the Cardinals.
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Keegan Thompson took another encouraging step Sunday against the Cardinals.

The Cubs lost 4-2, but Thompson threw three innings and allowed only one run, a solo home run by Paul Goldschmidt in the third. Thompson struck out seven, walked one and allowed two singles besides Goldschmidt’s homer.

“I thought Keegan looked a lot more like himself,” manager David Ross said. “Just the one mistake to Goldschmidt. Really nice job from him.”

Thompson’s struggles in August (9.00 ERA in two appearances) likely were due in part to shoulder inflammation that landed him on the 10-day injured list Sept. 4, but since returning, he has looked much better.

“Today was definitely the best start I’ve had since I [was] brought back up,” Thompson said. “I’ve been working a lot mentally and working on mechanics, and getting healthy again, so it’s been a couple of weeks getting that sorted out. It showed today.”

The run was the first he allowed in two starts against the Brewers and Cardinals since coming off the injured list Sept. 19.

“I know I can come out of the bullpen,” he said. “But having a good outing today just kind of put me back in my place and let me know that I can start.”

The Cubs scored both of their runs in the fourth inning on Sergio Alcantara’s double and a sacrifice fly by David Bote.

They held a 2-1 lead until Harrison Bader hit a game-tying homer in the eighth. With one out and the bases loaded in the ninth, Codi Heuer’s wild pitch allowed Andrew Knizner to score the Cardinals’ go-ahead run.

Ross happy to stick around

On Friday, team president Jed Hoyer shared his faith in Ross and quieted any talk of the Cubs moving into 2022 with a different manager.

“He is already an excellent manager, and he has a chance to be really special in this job,” Hoyer said.

Ross, though things have changed a lot since the beginning of the season, is keen on sticking around for the foreseeable future and appreciates the faith the front office has in him.

“That makes me feel good, especially in a time where we’re not at the level we all want to be at,’’ he said. ‘‘So when your boss backs you up like that, it feels good. Getting to manage this storied franchise and organization is a privilege, and I don’t take that lightly.

“I look forward to getting us back to where we need to be.”

Injury updates, pitching plans

Nico Hoerner was out Saturday with general soreness, and he didn’t play Sunday, either. Ross said they were taking advantage of the day off Monday to give Hoerner three full days off.

Patrick Wisdom was a late scratch with a sore right wrist caused by a check swing Saturday.

Jason Heyward (concussion) has been out since Sept. 11, but he will travel with the team to Pittsburgh for a potential return to the lineup.

After the day off, the Cubs begin their last road trip with three games against the Pirates. Ross said the plan is for Alec Mills, Kyle Hendricks and Zach Davies to start.