Wacha struggles as Cardinals suffer 13-5 loss to Cubs

Michael Wacha allowed nine runs, eight of them earned, on seven hits, four walks and a hit batter over 4.0 innings in the Cardinals' loss to the Cubs Friday night.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — A little rest did Kris Bryant a lot of good.

Bryant ended a 24-game homerless drought, the longest of his career, and Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber also went deep as the Chicago Cubs routed the St. Louis Cardinals 13-5 on Friday night.

“I know that there’s probably going to be plenty more times in my career when that happens and it’s all part of the journey,” Bryant said about his power outage. “As much as we hate it as players, everybody goes through it at some point in their careers. It’s nothing new to me, so on the surface everything has been peachy and pretty easy for me, but it never felt easy.”

Bryant drilled a 448-foot, two-run shot to left field off an ineffective Michael Wacha in the third inning for his first home run since May 14. The 2016 NL MVP capped a six-run fifth with an RBI single and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. His four RBIs were a season high.

Bryant had been hitless in his four previous games. Cubs manager Joe Maddon sat the All-Star slugger on Wednesday and Thursday.

“It looked like the ball was coming (off his bat) hotter,” Maddon said. “I thought KB looked good. He looked good. I loved the base hit, I loved the sacrifice fly.”

Jon Lester ran his scoreless streak to 17 innings before giving up a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna in the fourth as the Cubs won for the first time in four tries at Busch Stadium this season. Lester (8-2) allowed two runs in 6.0 innings to earn his fourth straight win.

“That might be the best stuff he’s had all year from my angle,” Maddon said. “That velocity was there. He just continues to trend in the right direction.”

Lester helped himself at the plate, too, driving in a run on a bunt in the fourth and reaching on catcher Yadier Molina’s throwing error that led to a second run as the Cubs extended their lead to 5-0.

Anthony Rizzo had three hits, was hit by a pitch and scored a run. Schwarber launched a three-run homer that traveled a projected 465 feet to straightaway center in the fifth, the third-longest homer by an opposing player in Busch Stadium III history.

Happ led off the third with a home run to right field. His first homer since May 22 snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak for the Cubs.

“We hit homers but we also did the little things well, too,” Maddon said. “We ran the bases well.”

Wacha (8-2) allowed a career-high nine runs, eight earned, in a season-low 4.0-plus innings. The three home runs he gave up tied a career high.

“I was just falling behind in the counts,” Wacha said. “A lot of 1-0, 2-0s and just too many mistakes and they didn’t miss too many of them.”

Matt Carpenter homered in the sixth and drove in two runs, but the Cardinals lost their third consecutive game.

“Bottom line, we lost and it wasn’t pretty,” manager Mike Matheny said. “And it’s a matter of trying to conserve arms, trying to get a couple guys off their feet and figure out a way to have some individual things that are done well and build on and have some confidence that will put us in a better spot tomorrow.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) threw a 35-pitch bullpen. He is scheduled to throw another one when the team returns home next week.

Cardinals: 1B Luke Voit was recalled from Double-A Springfield and RHP Matt Bowman (right hand finger blisters) was activated from the 10-day disabled list. 1B Jose Martinez was placed on the paternity list and RHP Daniel Poncedeleon was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.

UP NEXT

Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 3.48 ERA) starts Saturday night against RHP Carlos Martinez (3-2, 2.96). Hendricks has dropped three straight decisions for the first time in his career. Martinez has walked 12 over 7.2 innings in two starts since returning from a lat strain.