Game Report: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3 (14 innings)

By Rob Rains

Anybody who went to bed early Sunday night, or even late Sunday night, missed one heck of an early-morning show at Busch Stadium.

After Javier Baez hit a home run in the top of the 14th inning, the Cardinals responded with a two-run homer by former Cub Dexter Fowler in the bottom of the inning early Monday morning to pull out the victory.

It was the second consecutive walk-off homer in extra innings for the Cardinals over the Cubs, following Kolten Wong’s home run in the 10th on Saturday. Both of the blasts came off Cubs’ reliever Luke Farrell.

The last time the Cardinals won back-to-back extra-inning games on walk-off homers against the Cubs was on June 4 and 5, 2011, both off the bat of Albert Pujols.

“I can’t remember one more exciting, a little bit of everything,” said Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny. “Fireworks at the end, priceless. … There was a buzz in our dugout, you could hear it. It was a special weekend.

“It was one of those things that seemed surreal. .. Those are things that help define a club.”

Fowler’s homer just got over the glove of Jason Heyward in right field, prompting Fowler to tell reporters that he said to himself as he watched the play, “"I'm like, dude, if you catch this, I'm gonna cry,” Fowler said.

The Cardinals swept the three-game series over the Cubs and have now won five games in a row and have a six-game winning streak at home and have 10 wins in their last 11 at Busch. It was their fifth walk-off win of the season, the third in the last five games.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Fowler was hitless in five at-bats, after reaching on a walk in the first inning, and was in an 0-of-11 streak before his game-winning homer, the first walk-off homer of his career. He came up after Harrison Bader beat out a two-out infield single to keep the inning alive … Fowler had a walk-off single on April 26 against the Mets in the 13th inning … Wong had his first three-hit game of the season, including the Cardinals’ first triple of the year, which drove in the tying run in the sixth. Jason Heyward appeared to lose the ball in the lights as he tried to make a sliding catch … The Cardinals’ other run came on a homer from Jedd Gyorko in the second inning … Michael Wacha got his first hit of the year, an infield single, in the third, breaking an 0-of-28 streak dating back to last season.

On the mound: Wacha allowed two runs, one earned, in 5 1/3 innings before the bullpen combined to throw 8 1/3 scoreless innings until Baez’s homer off Mike Mayers with two outs in the 14th. It was the latest home run allowed by the Cardinals at home since Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates hit one off Barret Browning in the 19th inning on Aug. 19, 2012 … Mayers got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the 12th. Until those two hits, the Cubs’ only basrunner in 6 1/3 innings came on a walk.

Key stat: The Cardinals played their first game after putting Yadier Molina on the disabled list. He is expected to miss about a month following Saturday night's surgery. Since the start of the 2008 season, the Cardinals are a combined 192 games over .500 (758-566) when Molina starts and are now 10 games under .500 (159-169) when he doesn’t start. The only seasons in the last 10 years the Cardinals had a winning record in games Molina didn’t start were 2014 (28-25), 2011 (18-12) and 2008 (24-22). The last year the Cardinals had a losing record when Molina started was 2007 (46-55).

Worth noting: Dominic Leone also was placed on the disabled list before Sunday’s game and Mayers was recalled from Memphis … The update on the other players who left Saturday’s game because of injuries was that Tommy Pham estimated he was about 70 percent as he is dealing with a recurring groin issue. He did pinch-hit in the sixth … Bud Norris left because of a tight triceps and said he thought he would be ready to pitch in a couple of days … Brett Cecil was back in St. Louis after spending time in the extended spring training program in Florida. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said he would like Cecil to make one or two more rehab appearances, either in Memphis or Springfield … The Cubs batted Willson Contreras in the leadoff spot, only the fifth catcher to hit leadoff for the Cubs against the Cardinals since 1950. The last to do so was Paul Bako on May 10, 2003 … Outfielder Victor Roache, signed as a minor-league free agent over the winter, hit his Texas League-leading 10th home run for Springfield on Sunday.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will have to make another roster move before Monday night’s game against Minnesota to add John Gant to the roster. He will be making his third career start for the Cardinals and 10th of his career. In his only appearance this season he worked three perfect innings on April 26 … Adam Wainwright also is scheduled to make a rehab start for Springfield on Monday.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains


Audio: Cardinals Rewind Show with Rob Rains & Mike Reeves 5-6-18