There’s nothing better than the feeling of winning your division. And few teams can say they’ve gotten to do it while defeating a division rival at the same time. Now after that collective exhale it’s onto the bigger task ahead for the Chicago Cubs.
How they got there
The night started off as a pitcher’s duel between Michael Wacha and John Lackey. Wacha looked spectacular in those first 6 innings while Lackey had only surrendered one run to the Cardinals on a single by Paul DeJong in the bottom of the second, and he would escape the inning on a double play. But despite Lackey’s continued success throughout the night, the Cubs could not seem to get anything going against Wacha. Prior to the start tonight, Wacha had an ERA of 6.32 against the Cubs and that would seem surprising, given the way his fastball had been spot on all night.
Until the top of the seventh when the Cubs broke the game open.
First, Anthony Rizzo would single off a hard hit ball to right. Ben Zobrist would follow with another single and get Rizzo to third. Addison Russell then blasted a three-run home run to left field that just cleared the foul pole and put the Cubs up 3-1.
Wacha kept plugging away, still with no outs. He would give up doubles to Javier Baez and Jason Heyward and after walking Rene Rivera, Wacha was replaced by Matt Bowman.
Tommy LaStella came off the bench to pinch hit against Bowman and doubled on a fly ball to center, continuing to make a case for a spot on the postseason roster. Even before this at-bat, LaStella had a .488 slugging percentage as a pinch-hitter. The Cubs would end the inning up 5-1 and never looked back.
The Cardinals would never recover from the battering they took in the top of the seventh. The Cubs put the final nail in the coffin for what was a failed postseason push for the Cardinals. With the division locked down, the Cubs can now focus on preparation for their NLDS series against the Washington Nationals. Back-to-back division titles are great, but only time will tell if they have what it takes to win a second straight World Series title.
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