Wong’s walk-off homer lifts Cards over Cubs
By KURT VOIGT
The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — For the St. Louis Cardinals, there’s more importance to their early season games with the Chicago Cubs this year than most seasons.
The games are about St. Louis putting to rest any leftover doubts after a dismal 5-14 record against its rival a year ago.
The Cardinals showed on Saturday they aren’t about to just lie down and let the Cubs cruise to a third straight National League Central title. Kolten Wong hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to cap an 8-6 win, one which had all the back-and-forth of a postseason affair rather than an early May contest.
The Hilo native’s game-ending blast put the finishing touch on a game in which St. Louis trailed 4-0 after one inning and by two runs entering the bottom of the ninth. Both times, the Cardinals recovered on their way to a fourth straight win, along with winning for the third time in four games against Chicago this season.
“I’ve never (played) in the World Series or those kinds of games,” St. Louis outfielder Marcell Ozuna said. “This feels like more than a regular game.”
Ozuna tied the game in the ninth inning with a two-run double off Chicago closer Brandon Morrow, who allowed his first runs of the season. An inning later, it was Wong who sent a 1-1 pitch from Luke Farrell (1-1) into the right field seats for the game winner.
“We would have loved a double, and the homer was even better,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
Wong’s game-ending home run is the third of his career, his first since a victory over Pittsburgh on May 3, 2015.
The blast made a winner out of reliever Tyler Lyons (1-0), and it sent Chicago to a season-worst fourth loss in a row. Anthony Rizzo homered for a third time in four games for the Cubs, who lost despite scoring more than three runs in a game for the first time since April 24th.
Javier Baez added his eighth home run in the loss for Chicago, which had won five games in a row before its current losing stretch.
“They’re a good team, they’re always a good team,” Rizzo said. “They put together hits, they put together rallies and it’s a good group of guys and they play hard.”
Cardinals center fielder Tommy Pham (groin tightness), catcher Yadier Molina (hit in groin by tipped pitch) and Norris (triceps tightness) were all taken out of the game with injuries.
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