EditorsNote: Tweaks head; corrects Castellanos breaking up no-hitter on 2-2 count; fills out Lester’s line; corrects to Cubs playing 18 games since break
Jack Flaherty took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, allowed one hit in seven outstanding innings and combined with two relievers on a one-hitter as the St. Louis Cardinals continued their surge with an 8-0 victory over the visiting Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.
The Cardinals won for the 17th time in 25 games and improved to 14-6 since the All-Star break by collecting 14 hits.
Flaherty (5-6) lost his no-hit bid on his 81st pitch when Nicholas Castellanos lined a clean single to right field on a 2-2 fastball. The right-hander recovered by striking out Kris Bryant and easily breezed through the seventh.
It was the second time this season Flaherty took a no-hitter into the sixth or beyond. He also had a no-hit bid for 6 1/3 innings in San Francisco on July 7 before allowing a solo homer to Evan Longoria for the game’s only run.
Flaherty struck out nine, walked two and threw 65 of 98 pitches for strikes on a night in which only one Cub reached scoring position against him. Tyler Webb and Mike Mayers pitched a hitless inning apiece to finish off St. Louis’ first one-hitter since Jaime Garcia against Milwaukee on April 14, 2016.
The Cardinals’ starter walked Castellanos two batters in and a wild pitch allowed Castellanos to get to second. But after Castellanos walked, Flaherty retired 13 straight before allowing a four-pitch walk to Kyle Schwarber in the fourth.
The Cardinals held a 2-0 lead on singles by Jose Martinez in the first and Kolten Wong in the fourth before Flaherty lost his no-hit bid.
St. Louis busted the game open with a four-run sixth against Jon Lester (9-7) and Derek Holland. A single by Paul Goldschmidt and a double by Paul DeJong put runners at second and third and an RBI base hit by Yairo Munoz knocked out Lester.
Five pitches later, Matt Wieters lifted Holland’s 2-2 sinker into the right field seats for a three-run homer to make it 6-0. St. Louis increased its lead to 7-0 on a sacrifice fly in the seventh by Munoz off Brad Brach and scored its final run in the eighth when Lane Thomas scored on a double-play grounder by pinch hitter Rangel Ravelo.
Lester allowed five runs on nine hits with six strikeouts and no walks in five-plus innings.
The Cubs lost for the seventh time in 10 games and did not hold a lead for the first time in their 18 games since the All-Star break. They also fell to 5-11 in their last 16 road games and 0-9-1 in their last 10 road series.
—Field Level Media