CHICAGO (AP) Kyle Hendricks pitched effectively into the eighth inning, Addison Russell homered and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 on Saturday to increase their NL Central lead.
Chicago has won five straight and leads Milwaukee by 3 1/2 games and St. Louis by five in the division.
Albert Almora Jr. had three hits and two RBIs for the Cubs.
Russell was activated before the game after being sidelined since early August with plantar fasciitis of the right foot. He pinch hit in the eighth and hit a solo shot against Tyler Lyons to the back of the left-field bleachers.
Hendricks (7-5) allowed one run and six hits in a season-high 7 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.
Wade Davis got the final three outs for his 30th save in 30 chances, extending his Cubs record.
Matt Carpenter homered in the eighth for the Cardinals’ run.
Michael Wacha (12-8) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Cubs managed just one hit over the first three innings before breaking through in the fourth. Almora and Ian Happ had RBI singles to make it 2-0.
Wacha, though, avoided a big inning by striking out Javier Baez and Hendricks (sandwiched around a walk to Jon Jay) to leave the bases loaded.
In the fifth, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras drew two-out walks following lengthy at-bats (a total of 20 pitches) to put two runners on. Almora then ripped the first pitch he saw into the left-center gap, scoring Rizzo for a 3-0 lead.
Hendricks retired the first two batters in the eighth before Carpenter hit a solo shot to left.
Cardinals: CF Dexter Fowler returned after sitting a week with a bruised left knee. He was 2 for 3 and was hit by a pitch . 2B Kolten Wong sat out with back spasms after leaving Friday’s game in the seventh.
Cubs: RHP Koji Uehara wasn’t available because of a lower back issue.
Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (6-3, 3.88 ERA) faces RHP Lance Lynn (11-7, 3.01) in the finale of the series on Sunday. Quintana is 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts against St. Louis, including a 5-3 win on July 23. Lynn is 2-3 with a 4.60 ERA at Wrigley Field.