Chicago Cubs Jon Lester reacts after getting his first MLB base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals during the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks
July 07, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) John Lackey beat one of his good friends. He also got some timely help from one of his teammates.

Lackey threw seven scoreless innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 on Monday night despite Jon Lester taking a no-hitter into the seventh.

Lackey, who was a teammate of Lester's in Boston from 2010-2014, struck out four and gave up six hits while walking one and getting enough support from a Cardinals offense that scored more than three runs for the first time since June 28.

The Cubs had a good chance in the sixth when Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant started the inning with singles. Miguel Montero struck out before Kolten Wong made a diving play on a sharp Starlin Castro grounder to start a double play and end the inning.

Wong making that play didn't surprise Lackey (7-5).

''Things like that happen,'' Lackey said. ''He made a great play.''

It's the second time in as many days Wong has made a highlight-reel play to save a run. Sunday against San Diego, Wong made a diving grab on a Yonder Alonso pop-up in shallow center field, a play he rated higher than what he did Monday.

''Making the dive, I knew there would be a chance to be a double play and the rest was just reaction,'' Wong said.

The Cardinals needed that play because at the time, they had not been able to muster a hit against Lester.

Signed to a six-year, $155 million deal over the offseason, Lester (4-7) remained winless in nine straight starts since beating Pittsburgh on May 16. He allowed two hits and two unearned runs while striking out eight for Chicago, which had won five of six but was shut out for the seventh time.

Lester's bid for his second career no-hitter ended with one out in the seventh when Bryant couldn't handle Jhonny Peralta's sharp grounder in back of third base, which also ended Lester's streak of 18 batters retired.

''I had pretty good command of everything,'' Lester said.

The Chicago defense then let Lester down when Bryant's throw to second on a Jason Heyward grounder went into right field. That was followed by Yadier Molina's run-scoring sacrifice fly to right, and Wong's RBI single to left that put St. Louis ahead 2-0.

Lackey and two relievers combined on a six-hit shutout, helping St. Louis win its third straight and 16th in 23 while improving to 8-2 this season against Chicago.

''They've had our number. I definitely admit to that,'' Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. ''There's a long way to go yet.''

The Cardinals beat Chicago again despite Lester getting the first hit of his career on an infield single in the second. He had been 0 for 66 lifetime and 0 for 30 this season, though Lester getting the hit didn't seem to bother Lackey much.

''I'll autograph (the ball),'' Lackey quipped, ''and I'll put you lost, too.''

The game was delayed by rain for more than an hour in the middle of the eighth inning.

VOTING POWER

In an attempt to get RHP Carlos Martinez on the All-Star team in the final vote, the Cardinals have offered to partner with the Kansas City Royals, who also have a candidate in 3B Mike Moustakas. The Cardinals are hoping to utilize some of the voting power that saw four Royals voted in as starters.

BACK IN IT

Rizzo was back in the Chicago lineup one day after getting his first rest of the season. He went 1 for 4 and has reached base in 62 of his last 69 games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Jon Jay (left wrist) has been told to do nothing for the next week in hopes the inaction will help the healing.

Cubs: RHP Rafael Soriano joined Double-A Tennessee after a brief time in Mesa, Arizona. Soriano was signed June 9 and had been in the Dominican Republic waiting for his immigration situation to clear up.

UP NEXT

Cardinals LHP Tyler Lyons (2-0, 5.09) faces Chicago RHP Jake Arrieta (8-5, 2.80) in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader. In the nightcap, St. Louis LHP Tim Cooney (0-0, 5.40) will oppose Cubs RHP Dallas Beeler, who is expected to be called up from Triple-A Iowa before the game.

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