CHICAGO (AP) Kris Bryant galloped home from first base on Anthony Rizzo’s bloop double, capping a three-run rally in the eighth inning that sent the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 Saturday in the ever-tightening NL Central race.
A classic pitchers’ duel between Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright kept it scoreless into the eighth at Wrigley Field. The Cubs began the day one game behind shaky Milwaukee for the division lead, with the Cardinals 3 1/2 back of the Brewers.
After Paul DeJong and Randal Grichuk hit two-out homers off Lester for a 2-0 lead, the Cubs came back.
Ben Zobrist’s RBI double with two outs made it 2-1 and chased Wainwright. Bryant greeted reliever Matt Bowman (2-4) with a broken-bat single that tied it.
Brett Cecil then relieved and on a 3-2 pitch, Rizzo hit a looper to shallow left-center. Bryant ran hard the whole way and slid home feet first as catcher Yadier Molina couldn’t control center fielder Dexter Fowler’s one-hop throw.
Statcast showed Rizzo’s hit landed 252 feet from the plate it was 270 feet from first to home for Bryant.
Bryant missed Friday’s loss to the Cardinals with a sprained pinkie, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after that game the reigning NL MVP was unlikely to play Saturday.
Lester (7-6) had a perfect game until Wainwright singled with two outs in the sixth. Lester gave up three hits and struck out 10 in eight innings.
Wade Davis issued a pair of two-out walks in the ninth before fanning Molina for his 19th saves in 19 chances.
Lester retired the first 17 Cardinals in order before Wainwright, one of baseball’s better-hitting pitchers, grounded a single to left field.
That was the Cardinals only hit until DeJong, who attended high school in nearby Antioch, Illinois, and Grichuk connected. They both hit their 11th home runs of the season.
Wainwright allowed two runs on four hits in 7 2/3 innings, retiring 14 straight at one point.
HENDRICKS READY, MONTGOMERY TO PEN
Kyle Hendricks, who has not pitched since June 4 due to tendinitis in his pitching hand, will return to the Cubs rotation on Monday against the White Sox. The 27-year-old righty is 4-3 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 starts this season after going 16-8 with a major league-best 2.13 ERA last season.
Mike Montgomery will go back to the bullpen to make room for Hendricks, Maddon said. Montgomery is 2-3 with a 5.13 ERA in eight starts this season but allowed just one run on two hits in six innings in his last start.
Cardinals: OF Jose Martinez passed initial concussion-protocol tests after being struck on the side of the head by a foul ball in the dugout on Friday. . Molina (sore right ankle) returned to the lineup. He was a late scratch on Friday.
Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (7-3, 3.71 ERA) and Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (5-8, 4.20) are set to start the series finale Sunday night. Wacha pitched the first complete game of his career in the Cardinals’ 5-0 victory over the Mets on Tuesday and is 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA in July. Quintana, acquired in a trade with the White Sox on July 13, struck out 12 in seven scoreless innings to win his Cubs debut last Sunday.