CHICAGO (AP) — Albert Pujols hit the career no. 693 homer, Jordan Montgomery took a hit and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0 for their eighth straight win on Monday.
Pujols finished seventh and 14th overall in his final major league season with a drive to left center for his seventh homer in his last 10 games. As the three-time NL MVP rounded the bases in the second inning of the night, there was remarkable cheer from the 29,719-strong Wrigley Field crowd.
Drew Smyly became the 449th pitcher to deliver a homer to the 42-year-old Pujols, who matched Barry Bonds for the major league record. This was the Pujols’ 940th multi-hit game and tied Paul Waner at 10th on the career chart.
This one run was all Montgomery (7-3) needed. The left-handed scored seven points in his first full game of his career and went past none, and has been up 4-0 in four starts since being traded to the New York Yankees on August 2.
Rookie Christopher Morel doubled down with two wins in third for Chicago’s one-shot. Morel finished third when short stop Paul DeJong mishandled the relay from left fielder Tyler O’Neill. But Montgomery turned Nick Madrigal over to DeJong in a grounder and finished the shot.
Montgomery took 99 shots for the NL Central leaders in the opening of a five-game series, for 65 innings.
Chicago lost a sharp performance to Smyly (5-7) for their second consecutive loss after a five-game winning streak. Left-handed allowed four hits, took six hits, and took two hits out of seven.
Yadier Molina, after missing the previous two games, to be with the basketball team in Puerto Rico at the end of the championship streak. It went 3 to 0 for Louis. Molina, 40, is the owner of Vaqueros de Bayamón, who clinched his 16th Baloncesto Superior Nacional title by beating San Germán 75-61 on Saturday.
Cardinals: LHP Steven Matz (left MCL teardrop) will hold another side session on Wednesday. … Principal Oliver Marmol said that Jack Flaherty received a positive report on his third rehab start on Sunday. Coming back from a tense right shoulder, Flaherty threw a four-stroke ball for Double-A Springfield. Flaherty will begin another rehab with Triple-A Memphis on Friday, making nearly 80 pitches. “Once we get past that, we’re going to sit down… and figure out what’s next,” Marmol said.
Cubs: 3D Patrick Wisdom (injured ring finger on left hand) emerged from the crowd, but coach David Ross said he was available on the bench. … RHP Kyle Hendricks will not be returning this season. Hendricks recovers from a capsule rupture in his shoulder. … RHP Adbert Alzolay (right shoulder strain) was due to start a rehab post at the Arizona Complex League on Monday night.
The teams play a split double-head on Tuesday. Adam Wainwright (9-8, 3.11 ERA) Louis’ opening, and Jake Woodford (2-0, 2.66 ERA) takes the top for the second game. Javier Assad makes his Chicago debut in Game 1 and Adrian Sampson (1-3, 3.51 ERA) takes the ball for a nightcap.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap.
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