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Gibson dominates as Cardinals shut out Cubs

St. Louis Cardinals Kyle Gibson - The Canadian Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Gibson pitched two-hit ball over seven innings, Pedro Pagés broke a scoreless tie when he led off the eighth with his first career homer and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 3-0 on Friday.

Pagés, who has just four hits in 32 major league at-bats, picked the perfect moment to go deep. With his family on hand, the 25-year-old Venezuelan gave the Cardinals the lead with a drive to the left-field basket against reliever Hayden Wesneski (2-4).

Pagés said he and his dad later hugged and shed a few tears.

“It’s just a big moment for us,” he said. “We’ve been through a lot together as a family. Being able to be here and be a part of it, it’s amazing.”

Michael Busch singled leading off the bottom of the eighth against Ryan Fernandez. Pinch runner Pete Crow-Armstrong stole second and went to third on a ground out but he was thrown out at home by second baseman Nolan Gorman trying to score on Miguel Amaya’s one-out ground ball. JoJo Romero retired pinch hitter Patrick Wisdom on a fly to the left-field corner that Brendan Donovan caught just in front of the ivy.

The Cardinals scored two more runs in the ninth. Iván Herrera blooped an RBI double off a lunging second baseman Nico Hoerner’s glove and Dylan Carlson drove him in with a single.

Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley retired the first two batters in the ninth before walking Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ. He then struck out Hoerner for his major league-leading 23rd save in 24 chances.

Gibson (5-2) struck out six and walked one. The veteran right-hander made it look like a breeze for the most part on a day when the wind might have kept a couple of balls in the park.

Chicago’s Cody Bellinger hit a fly to the right-field warning track in the sixth, and the exit velocity on Wisdom’s drive was 111 mph. Either way, the Cubs lost for the 15th time in 21 games.

Starter Jordan Wicks left the game in the second inning because of a strained right oblique and will likely be placed on the injured list, manager Craig Counsell said. The left-hander walked off the field accompanied by a trainer after giving up a two-out single to Carlson. Kyle Hendricks came in and retired Brendan Donovan on a grounder to second.

“He felt it a couple pitches before, and then after he threw a couple more pitches, knew he couldn’t do any more,” Counsell said. “So, we’ll get imaging tomorrow and likely IL, and we’ll go from there.”

Wicks gave up two hits and struck out two in his first start and second appearance since returning from a strained left forearm. He was sidelined for six weeks.

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball over 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He retired 11 straight batters before giving up back-to-back singles in the sixth. Hendricks got out of that jam by getting Paul Goldschmidt to fly out and Nolan Arenado to ground into a force.


Cubs: RHP Ben Brown has a stress reaction in his neck, and the Cubs are still trying to figure out how much time he will miss. “It’s a unique injury, a little bit of a rare injury for a pitcher,” Counsell said. “We’re just trying to just get some more opinions and figure out exactly kind of what’s next for him.” The Cubs placed Brown on the 15-day injured list on Tuesday.


LHP Shota Imanaga (6-1, 1.96 ERA) looks to win his second straight start for the Cubs, while RHP Andre Pallante (2-2, 4.88) gets the ball for the Cardinals. Imanaga pitched into the seventh against Cincinnati on Sunday. Pallante beat Colorado, tossing three-hit ball over five innings in his second scoreless start this season. ___