CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Cubs don’t have the look of a team more interested in draft position than on-field success.
One day after the Central Division cellar-dwellers couldn’t have looked worse in a 13-3 embarrassment against the lowly San Diego Padres, they showed some grit in a come-from-behind, 7-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, who suffered their fourth consecutive loss on Friday.
A persistent wind at their backs, the division rivals treated the largest crowd at Wrigley Field this season to five home runs and 23 hits.
“A good team win,” said manager Rick Renteria, whose club trailed 3-0 before even getting a chance to bat. “The crowd was buzzing all day. It was a pretty neat environment. Obviously, the fans were into it.”
Luis Valbuena hit a decisive two-run homer in the seventh to decide the see-saw affair.
Kevin Siegrist (1-2) hit Anthony Rizzo with a full-count pitch to start the inning. One batter later, Valbuena launched the first pitch into the center-field bleachers, his first homer against a left-hander in 37 at-bats this season.
“I was looking for a fastball, and I got a fastball right there,” Valbuena said. “That’s why I got aggressive.”
“We had the match-ups we wanted right there,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We wanted (a left-hander) in that situation, in that part of the lineup, and a lefty ended up getting him.”
The Cardinals tied the score 5-5 on solo homers by Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday in the fifth inning. Pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras singled to break the tie in the sixth, but the lead was short-lived.
Justin Grimm (3-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Hector Rondon retired the side in the ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances.
Cubs starter Travis Wood did well to survive five innings after a rocky start. He allowed five runs - two earned - and seven hits with one walk.
Wood aided his cause with a solo homer off Joe Kelly in the fourth inning, his third of the season. He became the first Cubs pitcher since Carlos Zambrano (2009) with at least 10 RBIs in a season.
“They fought off a lot of pitches and made me work,” Wood said. “I was only able to go five, but luckily, I was able to keep it close and we were able to pull it out.”
Ryan Sweeney’s three-run homer pulled Chicago even at 3-3 in the second inning. Kelly had not allowed an earned run in 18 1-3 innings against the Cubs before then.
One inning later, Sweeney singled home Valbuena, who had walked, for a 4-3 lead.