Game Report: Cubs 10, Cardinals 2

By Rob Rains

Luke Weaver had turned in seven consecutive outstanding starts for the Cardinals coming into Monday night’s game against the Cubs, when he picked the absolute worst time to mix in a clunker.

Going into the game which would determine whether the Cardinals stayed alive in the NL Central for at least one more day, Weaver had allowed a total of eight earned runs in those seven starts covering a span of 42 2/3 innings.

That didn’t impress the Cubs, who pounced on the rookie for three runs in the first inning on a bases-loaded double by Addison Russell and saw Javier Baez blow the game open with a three-run homer in the third en route to the win at Busch Stadium.

The loss was the third in a row for the Cardinals and eliminated them from the division race and set up the possibility the Cubs could clinch the title on Tuesday night. The Cardinals’ only remaining hope for a playoff spot is the second wild-card position, which currently is held by the Rockies.

The Cardinals might have also lost catcher Yadier Molina to a concussion. He was hit on the face mask, almost in the same spot, by consecutive foul tips while Kris Bryant was batting in the seventh inning. He left the game, and vomited as he walked off the field, according to Fox Sports Midwest.

The Cardinals announced that Molina was undergoing concussion protocol, and manager Mike Matheny said after the game he had not received a report from the team doctors updating Molina’s condition.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate
: Both of the Cardinals’ runs came on solo homers, by Jedd Gyorko in the second and Luke Voit in the seventh. Gyorko’s was his 19th of the season and it was the fourth for Voit, his first as a pinch-hitter … The Cardinals had only four other hits, all singles, and just three at-bats with a runner in scoring position, going 0-of-3. They have not had a hit with a runner in scoring position in the last two games, going a combined 0-of-9… Gyorko had half of the team’s six hits with his homer and two singles.

On the mound:
Weaver was within one pitch of getting out of the first inning unscathed, but Russell doubled on a 1-2 pitch to clear the bases after a single by Bryant, a walk to Anthony Rizzo and an infield single by Ben Zobrist. Russell then scored on a double by Jason Heyward … Bryant homered in the second before Baez’s blast in the third blew the game open … It’s the third consecutive game the Cardinals’ starter pitched three innings or less … The Cubs added their final two runs in the eighth off Sandy Alcantara. Both of the runs were unearned because of his own fielding error … Five of the Cardinals seven pitchers in the game were rookies, none of whom started the year in St. Louis.

Key stat:
The Cardinals have won only one of 10 games against the Cubs since May 14, and lost for the sixth consecutive time. They saw their season record against the Cubs fall to 4-12, the most wins by the Cubs against the Cardinals since they went 13-5 in 1984 en route to the division title. The six consecutive losses are the most by the Cardinals against the Cubs since 1995.

Worth noting:
The homer by Bryant was only the second of his career at Busch Stadium in 87 at-bats … Matt Carpenter was 0-of-3, and is now 6-of-44 in his career against Jon Lester. He is just 2-of-35 in his career against Jake Arrieta, set to start for the Cubs on Tuesday night … Weaver was trying to become the first Cardinals starter to win eight consecutive starts since John Tudor won nine in a row and Joaquin Andujar won eight, both in 1985 … Jose Martinez hopes he will be able to play Tuesday night after receiving a cortisone shot for his sprained left thumb. He has missed the last three games … Memphis manager Stubby Clapp joined the major-league staff on Monday and will be here for the final week of the season.

Looking ahead:
Carlos Martinez, the only Cardinals’ starter other than Weaver with a win in the last 12 games, will get the start on Tuesday night against Arrieta.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains