Miles Mikolas threw seven shutout innings Friday night as the St. Louis Cardinals edged the Chicago Cubs 3-2 in the opener of a three-game weekend series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
In upping his record to 4-0, Mikolas scattered seven hits, walked none and fanned four. It was the fourth straight outing in which Mikolas has lasted seven innings and his fifth time in six starts in which he hasn’t walked a batter. In 40 innings, Mikolas has whiffed 31 and walked only two.
Mikolas left after Kris Bryant started the eighth with a double. Three relievers picked up the last six outs, with Bud Norris pitching the ninth to garner his seventh save in as many tries.
Norris didn’t exactly cruise through the Chicago lineup. Three singles, including a pinch-hit looper to center by Tommy La Stella, enabled the Cubs to put the tying run on base in the ninth. Ben Zobrist’s fielder’s choice bouncer scored a second run, but Norris got Bryant to ground into a fielder’s choice to end it.
Jose Quintana (3-2) absorbed the loss, throwing a whopping 88 pitches in just four innings. He gave up five hits and three unearned runs with four walks and four strikeouts.
Despite his inefficiency, Quintana should have escaped from the second inning unscathed, save for an error by shortstop Javier Baez that let Dexter Fowler reach base to start the inning. Jedd Gyorko beat out an infield hit before Quintana retired Paul DeJong and Mikolas.
But Quintana fell behind Tommy Pham 2-0 and laid a fastball over the inner half of the plate. Pham turned on it and launched it 412 feet into the bleachers behind the Cubs’ bullpen in left-center for his fifth homer.
Mikolas made the lead stand almost effortlessly, quashing a serious threat in the fifth with some precision pitching. Baez singled and pinch-hitter Ian Happ doubled to right to put men at second and third with one out.
However, Mikolas spotted a 96 mph fastball on the inside corner to strike out Zobrist, then induced a first-pitch groundout from Bryant.
—Field Level Media