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Chicago at St. Louis

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Chi. Cubs (28-40)000000011252
St. Louis (45-25) «00020021x580

Rookie Miller, Molina lead Cardinals past Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Known for his defense, Yadier Molina is putting together an impressive offensive season.

Molina had two more hits Monday night against the Chicago Cubs, including a two-run double, to help the Cardinals to a 5-2 win in the opener of a four-game series. Those two hits raised his average to a National League best .355.

Although Molina has topped the .300 mark the past two seasons, hitting .305 in 2011 and a career-best .315 last season, he seems to be at a different level in 2013, though he appears afraid to he might jinx himself.

"Next question," Molina said when asked about leading the league in hitting. "I'm glad we got the win for Shelby [Miller]. At the same time, he pitched pretty good."

After waiting out a rain delay of 1 hour, 59 minutes to start the game, Miller (8-4) pitched five scoreless innings to get the win for the Cardinals. He left after five innings with cramps in his right leg.

"He did a great job," said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. "Had a little warning there that his calf had tightened up [and] we didn't know exactly what we were dealing with. We found out it's just a cramp. He should be fine."

Miller allowed just two hits and struck out five in the shortest start of his career. His previous shortest stint was 5 1/3 innings at Los Angeles on May 26.

"I guess I was a little dehydrated this week," Miller said. "But if feels OK. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Kevin Siegrist and Seth Manness followed Miller and combined for two shutout innings before Trevor Rosenthal allowed a run in the eighth on a broken bat single by Nate Schierholtz. Edward Mujica gave up a homer to Darwin Barney with two outs in the ninth, but still earned his 20th save in 20 opportunities.

Shane Robinson and Allen Craig added sacrifice flies for the Cardinals, who moved back to a major league best 20 games over .500 (45-25).

Chicago fell to 8-22 against the National League Central, the lowest winning percentage by any team in its own division (.266). The Cubs are 5-23 when they score three runs or less, including Travis Wood's last three starts. Wood (5-6) was again a hard-luck loser, as he gave up four runs on seven hits. He has dropped three straight games despite having a 2.70 ERA in those contests.

It's tough for the team," Wood said. "We're scratching and clawing trying to get everything we can right now and trying to put together quality ball games.

"We're falling a little short right now, but it's a good group of guys. We're going to eventually get it together and string together some wins."

Molina was happy the Cardinals were able to break through against Wood.

"He beat us in Chicago," Molina said. "Tonight, we executed pretty good.

The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday started the inning with singles, and Beltran then went to third on Craig's long fly out to right. Molina then drove both Beltran and Holiday home with a double to the gap in right center.

St. Louis began the seventh the same way, with Molina and David Freese getting singles. Molina would score on a throwing error by first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Freese came home on Robinson's sacrifice fly.

Craig's sacrifice fly in the eighth gave the Cardinals a 5-1 lead.

Notes

  • The Cardinals' Adam Wainwright (10-3) will try to become the Major League's first 11-game winner when he opposes Jeff Samardzija (3-7) in the second game of the series Tuesday.
  • Chicago manager Dale Sveum was ejected with one in the seventh inning after arguing with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn over whether Molina had eluded Wood's tag. "It's a big play in the game at that time," Sveum said. "He blocks the plate and gets there. It's just an out call." St. Louis is 17-7 in the first game of a series.
  • Schierholtz has a nine-game hitting streak, equaling his career best.
 
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Catcher Yadier Molina boosts the Cardinals with a pair of hits and two runs driven in against the Cubs. (USATSI)
Catcher Yadier Molina boosts the Cardinals with a pair of hits and two runs driven in against the Cubs. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

Y. Molina
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Chicago

D. Barney
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Luis Valbuena, 3B2110201 .247
Starlin Castro, SS4010022 .241
Nate Schierholtz, RF3011112 .297
Alfonso Soriano, LF4000024 .253
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4000013 .241
Ryan Sweeney, CF4000000 .301
Welington Castillo, C3010100 .262
Darwin Barney, 2B4111002 .214
Travis Wood, P2000011 .276
   a- Julio Borbon, PH1000010 .211
    Henry Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
   b- Dioner Navarro, PH1000000 .259
Totals3225248  
a-struck out for Wood in the 8th
b-lined out for Rodriguez in the 9th
Batting
HR - Darwin Barney (3, Mujica)
RBI - Nate Schierholtz (26), Darwin Barney (12)
2-OUT RBI - Darwin Barney (7)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Anthony Rizzo (3, Throwing), Alfonso Soriano (5, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Travis Wood (L,5-6) 7743040 2.74
Henry Rodriguez 1110000 3.79
HBP - Beltran (by Henry Rodriguez)
Pitches-Strikes - Travis Wood 83-55, Henry Rodriguez 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Travis Wood 5-12, Henry Rodriguez 1-2
Batters Faced - Travis Wood 28, Henry Rodriguez 5
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Matt Carpenter, 2B4000012 .316
Carlos Beltran, RF3210000 .306
Matt Holliday, LF4120010 .271
Allen Craig, 1B3001011 .309
Yadier Molina, C4122001 .355
David Freese, 3B4110002 .290
Jon Jay, CF2000001 .245
Pete Kozma, SS3020000 .259
Shelby Miller, P1000001 .069
   a- Ty Wigginton, PH1000010 .184
    Kevin Siegrist, P0000000 .000
    Seth Maness, P0000000 .000
   b- Shane Robinson, PH0001000 .222
    Trevor Rosenthal, P0000000 .000
    Edward Mujica, P0000000 .000
Totals2958404  
a-struck out for Miller in the 5th
b-hit a sacrifice fly for Maness in the 7th
Batting
2B - Yadier Molina (22, Wood), Pete Kozma (13, Wood)
SF - Allen Craig (3), Shane Robinson (2)
SH - Jon Jay (4)
RBI - Allen Craig (52), Yadier Molina 2 (38), Shane Robinson (7)
Team LOB - 4
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Shelby Miller (W,8-4) 5200250 2.08
Kevin Siegrist (H,1) 1.1000110 0.00
Seth Maness (H,5) 0.2000000 3.43
Trevor Rosenthal 0.2211120 1.82
Edward Mujica (S,20) 1.1111001 2.03
WP - Shelby Miller (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Shelby Miller 83-52, Kevin Siegrist 21-11, Seth Maness 5-3, Trevor Rosenthal 19-14, Edward Mujica 14-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shelby Miller 3-7, Kevin Siegrist 1-2, Seth Maness 2-0
Batters Faced - Shelby Miller 19, Kevin Siegrist 5, Seth Maness 2, Trevor Rosenthal 5, Edward Mujica 5
Game Information
Attendance - 44172
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - D.J. Reyburn, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Field Culbreth