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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 4, Cardinals 2

By Rob Rains
Special to ESPNChicago.com



ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs hit two home runs in a game for the first time this month, scoring all the runs they needed to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2, Tuesday night.

How it happened: The Cubs jumped on St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright for four runs in the first inning, including both home runs. It was only the second time this season they have scored four times in the opening inning, the other coming April 14 versus the Giants. The onslaught came quickly, with Nate Schierholtz and Alfonso Soriano hitting back-to-back two-out doubles before Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ransom hit back-to-back homers. The four runs equaled the total number of runs Wainwright had allowed in the first inning in his 14 starts combined before Tuesday night.

The beneficiary of the offense was Jeff Samardzija, who raised his record to 4-7 by allowing only seven hits in 8 1/3 innings, including Carlos Beltran’s 17th homer of the year in the sixth. He struck out six, walked one and hit a batter. Samardzija left the game after giving up singles to Matt Holiday and Allen Craig. Kevin Gregg came in and allowed an RBI single to Yadier Molina, but then settled down for his 10th save.

What it means: The win broke the Cubs’ five-game losing streak in St. Louis that dated back to May 14 of last year. In their last four games at Busch Stadium, the Cubs had been a combined 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position, a total they exceeded in the span of two batters in the first inning Tuesday night. It was only the ninth win by the Cubs in 31 games against the NL Central this season. Wainwright, who leads the NL with 10 wins, has not defeated the Cubs since Sept. 24, 2010.

Outside the box: Ransom was in the Cubs lineup at first base in place of slumping Anthony Rizzo, who was given his first game off of the season. The move paid off when Ransom homered in the first to cap the big inning. It was Ransom’s eighth homer of the year, in 85 at-bats, and was his first off a right-handed pitcher. Ransom has now hit five homers and driven in 10 runs in his last eight starts.

Up next: Former Cardinal Edwin Jackson (3-8, 5.40 ERA) will start for the Cubs in the third game of the series Wednesday night. Jake Westbrook (2-2, 2.05 ERA) will start for St. Louis in the 7:15 p.m. game.