Game Report: Cubs 4, Cardinals 3

The Cubs swept the Cardinals out of Chicago on Sunday, all but officially eliminating them from the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

After coming to town on Friday three games behind the Cubs in the NL Central, the Cardinals left Sunday night down six with just 13 games to play and with little chance they can catch the Rockies for the second wild-card spot either.

Dexter Fowler gave them a brief life with a three-run homer in the sixth inning on Sunday, rallying the Cardinals from a 3-0 deficit, but the Cubs responded with a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Jason Heyward off Matt Bowman that held up as the game-winner.

The Cardinals had their chances to come back again, stranding eight runners over the final four innings.

The loss dropped the Cardinals to 1-8 at Wrigley Field this season, their worst record in a full season since they were 0-9 in 1918. They won one of just four games there in the strike-shortened season in 1981.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals’ leadoff hitter reached base just three times in the first 23 innings of the series before Matt Carpenter doubled leading off the sixth. Paul DeJong walked with one and with two outs Fowler hit a 2-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers, only his second right-handed home run this season … With runners on second and third, Randal Grichuk struck out to end the inning … In the seventh, the Cardinals had runners on first and third with two outs but Jose Martinez grounded out … In the eighth they loaded the bases with two outs but Carpenter struck out for the fourth time in the game, and in the ninth Tommy Pham had a leadoff single, his third hit of the day, but never got off first as DeJong, Martinez and Fowler were all retired by Wade Davis … Their leadoff hitter reached base in each of the final three innings but could not come around to score … Fowler’s homer, his first since Aug. 10, was the Cardinals’ only hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position and in the three games they were a combined 2-of-14.

On the mound: Lance Lynn was pulled for a pinch-hitter after four innings. He allowed one run in the third and two in the fourth, when he got out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Kris Bryant. Lynn threw 81 pitches in equaling his shortest start of the season (May 10 in Miami) … In the seventh, Tyler Lyons’ pitch grazed Anthony Rizzo’s jersey leading off the inning and he was awarded first base after a video review. Rizzo went to second on a single by Javier Baez and scored on the two-out single by Heyward off Bowman, who also walked the next hitter, Addison Russell, but got out of the inning without additional damage … The loss was charged to Lyons, his first since July 7, 2015, also against the Cubs, snapping a streak of 86 consecutive appearances without a loss.

Key stat: With four games remaining against the Cubs the final week of the season in St. Louis, the Cardinals are just 4-11 against the Cubs and 28-35 against their NL Central opponents. The last time the Cardinals finished with a losing record against the division was in 2008, when they were 36-41. The 11 wins already are the most by the Cubs against the Cardinals since winning 11 in 2007.

Worth noting: Adam Wainwright threw a live batting practice before the game and was pleased with the results. He is expected to come off the disabled list on Tuesday and pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the season … Cubs catcher Willson Contreras had his suspension for throwing his mask on Friday reduced to one game, and served it on Sunday … The Cardinals are 0-7 in Lynn’s last seven starts against the Cubs … The Cardinals scored only one run in the series that did not come on a home run.

Looking ahead: Monday will be the Cardinals’ final day off of the season. They will be in Cincinnati on Tuesday night to begin a three-game series, with Jack Flaherty getting his fourth start, still looking for his first victory.