Game Report: Cubs 5, Cardinals 0

Another poor start, this time by Mike Leake, put the Cardinals in a hole they could not escape against Jake Arrieta on Friday as the Cubs shut out the Cardinals to open their weekend series at Wrigley Field.

Leake allowed four runs in the first inning, giving up four hits, a walk and throwing two wild pitches.

The Cubs fell 1 1/2 games behind the Mets in the wild card race after the Mets defeated the Phillies Friday night. They remained a half game behind the Giants for the second wild-card spot after the Giants lost to the Padres. The Cardinals have nine games left in the regular season.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals had just five hits and only put two runners on base in the same inning once. Jhonny Peralta and Kolten Wong singled to open the third inning before Leake bunted into a double play, which came after the Cardinals thought Leake had been hit by a pitch, but it was ruled he had attempted to bunt on that pitch … Their only hits after that were a pinch-hit single by Greg Garcia in the sixth and a two-out single by Yadier Molina in the seventh … Matt Carpenter was 0-for-3 against Arrieta, striking out twice, and is now hitless in 24 at-bats against Arrieta in the regular season … He was 0-for-4 in the game and is now 7-for-60 against the Cubs this season … Arrieta struck out 10 in seven innings, becoming the seventh pitcher and third Cub to record 10 or more strikeouts against the Cardinals this year. John Lackey struck out 11 on April 18 and Kyle Hendricks struck out 12 on Aug. 13.

On the mound: Leake lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and being charged with all five runs. The last run scored on a fielder’s choice grounder off Miguel Socolovich … Socolovich, Trevor Rosenthal, Sam Tuivalala , Zach Duke and Jerome Wlliams allowed only hit over the final 4 2/3 innings but they did issue three walks.

Key stats:
The four runs in the first inning increased the Cardinals’ combined ERA in the first inning this season to 5.17, their second highest in any inning this season. They have a combined 5.27 ERA in the sixth inning. They have now allowed 88 earned runs in the first inning in their 153 games … Leake has allowed 17 runs in the first inning in his 29 starts … As a team the Cardinals have allowed at least one run in the first inning in their last four games.

Of note: The Cardinals lost 7-0 to the Cubs in their last game, on Sept. 14 in St. Louis, making this the first time the Cubs recorded consecutive shutouts over the Cardinals since June 9-10, 1984 … Wong started in left field with Carpenter at second base … In Leake’s four starts against the Cubs this year, the Cardinals have scored a total of one run in the 22 1/3 innings when he has been on the mound … Matt Holliday hit off Cardinals pitcher Mike Mayers in batting practice, but the team wants him to do it one more time and see how his right thumb recovers adding him to the roster … Manager Mike Matheny said Jaime Garcia will start on Monday night, with Adam Wainwright’s start pushed back a day until Tuesday. Luke Weaver is going to the bullpen.

Looking ahead:
Alex Reyes, coming off seven shutout innings in his last start against the Giants, will get the start in the 12:05 p.m. game Saturday against Jason Hammel.