Right-hander Kyle Hendricks limited the St. Louis Cardinals to two runs in eight innings and Kris Bryant belted a home run Friday afternoon, lifting the host Chicago Cubs to an 8-4 victory in the opener of a three-game series with postseason ramifications.
The win allowed the Cubs (94-66) temporarily to move 1 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee atop the National League Central standings. The Brewers were scheduled for a Friday night home game against Detroit.
The Cardinals (87-73), meanwhile, temporarily fell 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the duel for the second NL wild-card spot. The Dodgers were at San Francisco later in the evening.
Hendricks (14-11) allowed two sixth-inning runs but no other scoring in his eight innings, winning his third consecutive start. He gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out two.
Jorge De La Rosa worked the ninth inning, allowing a pair of unearned runs.
The Cubs jumped on Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (2-4) for a pair of runs in the first inning after a leadoff single by Daniel Murphy and a walk to Ben Zobrist set the stage.
Anthony Rizzo put Chicago on the board with an RBI single. An error on Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong later allowed the second run to score.
Bryant, who hadn’t played since Tuesday because of a bruised wrist, made it 3-0 in the fourth with his 13th home run.
Sacrifice flies by Rizzo in the fifth and Murphy in the seventh added to the Chicago total, before the Cubs blew the game open with a three-run eighth, highlighted by Albert Almora Jr.’s two-run single.
Wainwright left the game after five innings, having allowed four runs and five hits. He walked one and struck out seven.
Murphy scored twice and had two hits for the Cubs, who won their third straight.
Bryant also scored a pair of runs for Chicago, while Rizzo and Almora each collected two RBIs.
Marcell Ozuna had two hits, including an RBI single in the Cardinals’ two-run sixth. Wong also had two hits for St. Louis, which committed three errors (as did Chicago) and lost its fourth straight.
—Field Level Media