- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Chicago Cubs had several chances against St. Louis on Saturday night. It just didn’t work out.

It’s a familiar theme for their games against the Cardinals this year.

Starlin Castro and Chris Coghlan had two hits apiece, but Chicago lost 8-1 to Michael Wacha and St. Louis. The Cubs have dropped six of eight against the Cardinals this year, leaving 61 runners on base against the NL Central leaders.

“No question, we had opportunities,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We did a lot of good things early. We just have to do better. It’s very simple.”

The Cubs have lost four in a row after a four-game winning streak. They have scored just six runs in their last five games.

“We try to score 10 runs in one at-bat and that’s not going to happen,” Castro said. “Keep grinding it out, every opportunity they give to us.”

Cubs right-hander Donn Roach (0-1) lasted just 3 1/3 innings in his first major league appearance of the year. He was charged with four runs and eight hits while subbing for Tsuyoshi Wada, who has a sore elbow.

Jason Heyward reached four times in St. Louis’ fifth straight victory. The major league-best Cardinals (50-24) have five winning streaks of five games or more this season.

“We’re not completely oblivious to it, but we’re not spending a lot of time on it,” manager Mike Matheny said of the team’s record. “It’s nice watching the bulk of these guys have success.”

Wacha (10-3) allowed one run and six hits, bouncing back from a rough start at Philadelphia. The right-hander was tagged for five runs and eight hits against the Phillies in his worst start of the season last Sunday.

St. Louis improved to a major league-best 28-7 at home with its eighth consecutive win at Busch Stadium.

Xavier Scruggs, Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter each drove in two runs as St. Louis reached the 50-win mark before July for the first time in franchise history. Scruggs, who was promoted from Triple-A Memphis on June 19, gave the Cardinals the lead for good with a run-scoring single in the fourth.

In Friday’s series opener, rookie Greg Garcia, also recalled from Memphis on June 19, connected for a tying pinch-hit homer in the eighth, and the Cardinals went on to a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.

“Greg, he’s my man and it was great to see him contribute like that,” Scruggs said. “Tonight, I just wanted to get out there and do something, too.”

Roach drove in Castro with an RBI single in the second.

Roach, who was 7-1 at Triple-A Iowa, set the Cardinals down in order in the third, but struggled in St. Louis’ four-run fourth. The Cardinals added four more in the fifth.

“I think they did a good job of staying up the middle,” Roach said. “I was looking for ground balls and they hit some up the middle and no one’s there. I obviously threw some mistakes today, but I didn’t think it was that bad.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: OF Jorge Soler, who has been out since June 3 with a left ankle sprain, will likely start a minor league rehabilitation assignment early next week. Soler is on the 15-day disabled list.

Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia, who suffered a groin cramp running the bases in his last start, will not take his scheduled turn on Tuesday. He skipped a bullpen session Saturday and could return to the rotation as early as Wednesday. RHP Lance Lynn (5-4, 2.84 ERA) will start Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (8-3, 2.89 ERA) faces RHP Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.65 ERA) in the finale of the three-game series on Sunday night. Hammel has eight quality starts in his last 11 outings. The Cardinals are 11-3 in games started by Martinez this season.

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