Ian Happ hit a two-out homer in ninth inning that ended Jon Lester’s career. This lifted the Chicago Cubs past the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-5, Saturday night.
Lester, 37, hasn’t declared whether he intends to come back for a 17th season. For six seasons, the left-handed pitcher pitched for the Cubs. He also played for the 2016 World Series team.
Happ drove a 2-0 pitch from Luis Garcia (1-1) over the center-field wall for his career-high 25th home run of the season.
The blast made a winner out of Jason Adam (1-0), who pitched a perfect eighth. Rowan Wick picked up his fifth save as the Cubs sent the Cardinals to just their second defeat in their last 21 games.
Lester gave up at least one baserunner each in his five innings. He also pitched from a bases loaded jam in the fourth. Trayce Thompson was the first to strike out Lester, scoring four runs, including the two that loaded the bases.
Dylan Carlson scored two runs to cap a seven-run seventh that saw the Cardinals lead 5-4.
Harrison Bader hit a 92mph sinker by Adrian Sampson, which he threw over the wall. It was his first leadoff homer. It was the fifth time the Cardinals first batter of a game went deep this season and came in Bader’s 10th career game hitting atop the order.
Tyler O’Neill’s RBI three in the fifth reduced the Cubs’ lead to 4.
Sampson only gave up Bader’s longest ball over his four innings. Seven strikeouts helped him pitch around the clogged bases in his two first innings.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was back in the starting lineup after missing four games with right shoulder stiffness. He was 0 for 4.
With his pinch-hitting appearance in the fifth, Tyler Ladendorf became the 67th player used this season by the Cubs, tying the MLB record set by the 2019 Mariners.
Cubs: C Willson Contreras left the game in the third inning with right hip tightness. With no further information, RHP Tommy Nance was put on the injured list. RHP Joe Biagini from Triple-A Iowa was chosen.
Cardinals – RHP Genesis Cabrera (split fingers) will be available to play in the postseason. Cabrera was able to walk three out of four batters that he encountered before he left Friday’s match.
The Cardinals send RHP Jake Woodford (3-3, 3. 88ERA) will take the pitch in the Cardinals’ regular-season finale. The Cubs respond with Alec Mills (6-6, 5. 09) on Sunday. Woodford was a 1. 90 Thermodynamic Average Run Rate (ERA) in his five September appearances. This includes four starts. Mills allowed three runs or more in each of his seven previous starts, and has also given up at least three runs in the last three.