Cubs' 11-game win streak ends, Grichuk slam propels Cards
CHICAGO (AP) Following two stints in the minors this season, Randal Grichuk is back in the majors and eager to prove he belongs.
Grichuk hit a grand slam that capped a six-run burst in the eighth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals stopped the Cubs' 11-game winning streak, beating Chicago 8-4 Saturday.
After a run-scoring wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the eighth put the Cardinals ahead 4-2, Grichuk connected.
It was his second homer since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Thursday - and it came on his 25th birthday, no less.
''I feel like a lot of people let that opportunity slip away thinking they're going to have many more,'' Grichuk said. ''I'm definitely thankful for being up here right now and getting the opportunities, and I'm definitely trying to take advantage of it.''
Brandon Moss and Jedd Gyorko also homered for St. Louis.
Addison Russell hit his 14th homer for the NL Central-leading Cubs.
Alex Reyes (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings of relief to get his first major league win in his second appearance.
St. Louis starter Luke Weaver gave up two runs on four hits in his major league debut. The 22-year-old was lifted for a pinch hitter after four innings and 85 pitches.
Carl Edwards Jr. (0-1) allowed five runs while getting only two outs.
Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks struck out 12, matching a career best, in seven innings. He gave up five hits, including two homers. His ERA rose slightly from 2.17 to 2.19.
''Just two bad changeups, really, two changeups up (in the strike zone),'' Hendricks said. ''That was about it. Hopefully, we could keep that winning streak going, but we'll start a new one tomorrow.''
It was 2-all in the eighth when the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out. Edwards Jr. struck out Yadier Molina with a breaking pitch in the dirt and the ball bounced off the chest of catcher Willson Contreras and rolled toward the third-base dugout, allowing Stephen Piscotty to score.
Edwards then walked the next two batters to force in another run. Joe Smith relieved and Grichuk hit his slam.
''It means a lot,'' Grichuk said. ''It's definitely a confidence booster. In Wrigley against the Cubs, a division rival, it's definitely big and, hopefully, the confidence can carry over through the rest of the season.''
With Weaver and Reyes, 21, the Cardinals have a pair of prized pitching prospects. Manager Mike Matheny was asked if he allowed himself to think about both being in the rotation next season while watching them on Saturday.
''I won't deny that that hit me at some point in that game,'' Matheny said. ''I even turned to (bench coach) Dave Bell and said, `This is really impressive stuff. These kids are making a nice first statement.'
''You probably couldn't throw them into a hotter spot than what we just threw them into. This is a tough place to pitch and watching them . not just survive, I thought they looked terrific,'' he said.
LA STELLA UPDATE
The Cubs are awaiting a decision from INF Tommy La Stella, who was put on the inactive list earlier this week after failing to report to Triple-A Iowa following a demotion last month. La Stella returned to his home in New Jersey.
''I'm still very optimistic about him coming back, but nothing has really abruptly changed right now,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''I think he was very clear how he felt. I think we were very clear back to him how we felt.''
Cardinals: OF Matt Holliday (broken right thumb) was placed 15-day disabled on Saturday to make room for Weaver on the roster.
Cubs: After a bullpen session Friday, RHP Hector Rondon (sore triceps) reported no physical complications. Maddon said the reliever was ''real close'' to a return to the active roster ... RHP Pedro Strop, who had an arthroscopic procedure to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee on Thursday, was back in the clubhouse on Saturday walking on crutches. He's expected to be sidelined four to six weeks.
Cubs RHP John Lackey (9-7, 3.56 ERA) pitches the finale on Sunday. Lackey, who jumped from the Cardinals to the Cubs in the offseason, is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA against St. Louis this season. RHP Mike Leake (8-9, 4.79) goes for the Cardinals.