The St. Louis Cardinals on Friday prevailed over the Cubs at Wrigley Field in both ends of the doubleheader. With the victories, the surging Cardinals pushed their current win streak to 14 games and tightened their already firm grip on the second and final National League wild card spot.
The 14-game win streak, which began on Sept. 11 with a win over the Reds, is now tied for the longest in Cardinals franchise history. The other 14-game streak happened July 2 through July 18, 1935.
Additionally, this winning streak is now the longest in Major League Baseball this season. There were two 13-game streaks from American League teams: the Oakland Athletics (May) and the New York Yankees (August).
In the first game Friday, the Cardinals won 8-5, powered by sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O'Neill, as each tallied his 30th home run. Goldschmidt has now hit 30 or more homers in a season on six occasions. For O'Neill, it's his first 30-homer campaign. Of note is that O'Neill's Friday afternoon home run traveled an estimated 454 feet and left Wrigley Field:
Goldschmidt, now batting .294/.363/.513 on the season, and O'Neill, now batting .280/.349/.543, have keyed the offensive attack during the Cardinals' current streak, and one or both of them may be line for a top-10 finish in the NL MVP balloting. On the mound, deadline addition J.A. Happ tossed four scoreless against the Cubs despite walking four batters in the afternoon game.
In the night game, Jack Flaherty served as an opener while Dakota Hudson made his 2021 debut as he has returned from Tommy John surgery. Neither fared really well, but the offense provided plenty of support.
The wins push the Cardinals to 85-69 on the year. They've rendered the rest of the wild card field moot, as they now have a 99+ percent chance to make the playoffs, per SportsLine projections. No one else is within five games of them and the Cardinals only have eight games left and five of those come against the Cubs.
Friday's wins, however, potentially came at a cost for the Cardinals. Shortstop Edmundo Sosa was struck on the right hand/wrist area by a Tommy Nance sinker. Sosa, in obvious pain, immediately removed himself from the game and was replaced on the bases and later at the position by Paul DeJong. The Cardinals have said it doesn't appear there's a fracture, but they'll re-evaluate in the coming days.