Cubs claim series vs. Cardinals with comeback extra-innings win

ST. LOUIS – Sometimes baseball defies logic. The Cubs, after starting the road trip with a lopsided series loss to the Pirates, played the Cardinals close for three straight games.

In the series finale Sunday, they beat the Cardinals 6-5 in extra innings, claiming the series 2-1.

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras delivered the winning run, leading off the 10th inning with an RBI single through the right side of the field.

Before that, the Cubs battled back from a five-run deficit to tie the game in the fourth inning. Nico Hoerner started the rally, hitting a leadoff infield single, the first of four straight singles for the Cubs.

Yan Gomes followed him with a line drive into right field. Then, Alfonso Rivas beat the shift with a hit through the left side of the infield, driving in a run. David Bote’s single up the middle loaded the bases again.

Christopher Morel struck out to end the streak. But with one out, Rafael Ortega and Willson Contreras each drove in two runs.

The Cardinals finally got out of the inning with a heads-up play by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Cubs cleanup hitter Ian Happ hit a line drive at Goldschmidt, which the first baseman dropped. But with the force still in play, he tagged Contreras as he slid back to first and then stepped on the bag for a double play.

Go long

Cubs starter Alec Mills ran into trouble his second time through the Cardinals batting order. He gave up back-to-back home runs, to Brendan Donovan and Goldschmidt, to begin the third inning. Then, with two outs, he threw a sinker middle-in to Juan Yepez on the first pitch of the at-bat, and Yepez drove it over the fence.

Matt Swarmer, who had originally been slated to start on Sunday, replaced Mills, trailing 5-0.

Swarmer’s ERA had ballooned from 1.50 to 5.84 over his last three starts. And Cubs manager David Ross said he wanted a look at him in the bullpen.

Swarmer held the Cardinals hitless through 2 ⅓ innings of relief.

Heyward out of lineup

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward has been dealing with a minor knee issue, Ross revealed on Sunday. Heyward has been out of the lineup for two games.

“Just trying to give him a day or two,” Ross said.

Nelson Velázquez and Ortega started in right field against the Cardinals on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

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