The St. Louis Cardinals continued their dominance over the Chicago Cubs even after failing to register a hit for much of their series opener at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs' scuffling lineup squandered a superb pitching effort but will try to redeem itself with Jake Arrieta attempting to produce another brilliant start against the Cardinals in Tuesday's opener to a doubleheader.
St. Louis (54-28) continued to play big brother to the upstart Cubs (44-37) with a 6-0 victory Monday, scoring all of its runs in the final three innings. The Cardinals didn't record their first hit on Jon Lester until Jhonny Peralta's grounder proved too tough for Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant to handle with one out in the seventh.
Bryant followed with a throwing error that would open the door for St. Louis to plate two runs in the inning, and the Cardinals would get four more in the ninth in improving to 8-2 in the season series. The Cubs totaled six hits - one for extra bases - and have totaled five runs in five consecutive losses to the Cardinals.
"They've had our number. I definitely admit to that," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "There's a long way to go yet."
Chicago is batting .204 with 30 runs in its last 14 games and has been limited to two or fewer in all but three. Anthony Rizzo, named to his second All-Star team Monday, is 4 for 32 (.125) in his last nine games and 2 for 18 in his last five against St. Louis.
That's not too shocking as the Cardinals, owners of an MLB-best 2.56 ERA, have a 1.67 mark in their last 12 games with their starters posting a 1.37 ERA. The best team in the majors, though, isn't taking this series lightly.
"(The Cubs are) definitely a talented team," pitcher John Lackey said. "They've got some young guys that have potential really good players. We've got to keep playing well."
The Cubs will seek to avoid dropping six in a row to St. Louis in one season for the first time since 2011.
Arrieta is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in his last three starts - while getting a combined 16 runs of support - but couldn't get a win over the Cardinals on June 26.
Arrieta (8-5, 2.80 ERA) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings while striking out seven in a 3-2 loss in 10 innings. Since joining the Cubs in July 2013, the right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA in eight starts against the Cardinals and 3-0 with a 0.56 ERA in five matchups at Wrigley.
Arrieta also yielded three hits over seven innings in a 2-0 win there April 8, but has gone 1-4 with a 3.96 ERA in his six subsequent home starts.
He'll pitch opposite Tyler Lyons (2-0, 5.09), who is filling in for an injured Jaime Garcia. Lyons won each of his two starts after being called up from the minors June 12 and will make his third against the Cubs.
The left-hander was charged with four runs in 4 1-3 innings in a 7-4 victory against the Cubs on May 5.
Tim Cooney (0-0, 5.40) is slated to start the finale for St. Louis while right-hander Dallas Beeler is expected to be called up to make his third career start for the Cubs and first since July 9, 2014.
Cooney gave up three runs in six innings in a 5-3 loss to San Diego on Thursday, the left-hander's second MLB start. Beeler went 0-2 with a 3.27 ERA in his two last season.