CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Garza got his first win at Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs delivered their biggest offensive output of the season Wednesday night to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-4.

Chicago scored six runs in the third after a 53-minute rain delay, added four more in the fifth and finished with 17 hits, four by Starlin Castro. The runs were the most the Cubs had scored this season and the hits tied a season high.

The Cards dropped to 1-1 without manager Tony La Russa, who missed his second straight game as he recovers from shingles. He’ll be absent for the remainder of St. Louis’ six-game road swing that ends Sunday in Cincinnati.

Garza (2-4) went five innings, allowing three hits and a run in his fifth start in the Cubs’ home ballpark. He struck out seven, including the side in the fourth after the long delay following a thunderstorm and the Cubs’ biggest inning of the season.

Castro, the Cubs’ 21-year-old shortstop who’d been in a 2-for-25 slump when the series began, went 4 for 4 with three RBIs.

St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook (2-3) became unglued following the rain delay, when the Cubs batted around.

Westbrook gave up one-out singles to Kosuke Fukudome and Darwin Barney and hit Marlon Byrd to load the bases. Aramis Ramirez delivered an RBI single and Carlos Pena followed with a two-run double to finish the Cards’ starter.

Castro greeted reliever Jason Motte with an RBI single and when center fielder Colby Rasmus missed the ball, Castro sprinted to third on the two-base error. Alfonso Soriano then hit an RBI single, becoming the seventh straight Cubs batter to reach.

In 2 1-3 innings, Westbrook gave up six hits – four after the rain delay – and was charged with five runs.

Chicago added four in the fifth, using run-scoring triples from Castro and Koyie Hill against reliever Ryan Franklin. Albert Pujols had a two-run single as the Cards scored three against Jeff Samardzija in the seventh.

St. Louis also cut down two potential runs at the plate. Rasmus made a strong throw and Gerald Laird applied the tag on Ramirez as he tried to score from second on Castro’s single to center in the second. Matt Holliday’s great throw from left nailed Fukudome as he attempted to score on Byrd’s single in the fourth.

NOTES: Acting Cardinals manager Joe Pettini said he’d talked twice on Wednesday to La Russa, who was headed back to St. Louis from a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona where he was examined. La Russa and Pettini discussed the Cards’ lineup. … Cubs C Geovany Soto was placed on the DL on Wednesday after straining his groin the night before in the first inning. Soto said he did a split while catching a pitch as Holliday was batting in the opening inning. Soto will eventually got to the team’s training base in Mesa, Ariz., to rehab. … … Westbrook’s outing was his shortest since May 2, 2007, when he left a start with Cleveland after 1 1-3 innings with an abdominal injury. Earlier this season he went only three innings against the Nationals.

Copyright Associated Press


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