- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - After getting the big hit two straight nights, Mark Reynolds cooled off.

So did the rest of the St. Louis Cardinals, who had no comeback magic in a 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs that ended their eight-game winning streak on Wednesday night.

“We just couldn’t get the big hit or the bat at-bat,” Reynolds said. “It was just a tough night for me especially. Lester had my number.”

Reynolds drove in the go-ahead run with a pinch-hit double on Tuesday and started St. Louis’ comeback with a grand slam on Monday. In the third game of the series, he batted cleanup and was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.

Anthony Rizzo homered with three RBIs and Jon Lester had a strong outing for the Cubs, who ended their own four-game skid.

Jhonny Peralta hit a 447-foot homer and Yadier Molina had two hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, who erased deficits of five and three runs the first two games of the four-game series but couldn’t quite make up a three-run, fifth-inning deficit. Lance Lynn (1-3) allowed five runs in six innings.

“I just couldn’t make the pitch when I needed to,” Lynn said. “I felt pretty good the whole game. The home run and double by Rizzo are the real big mistakes.”

St. Louis put runners on the corners with one out in the ninth before Hector Rondon escaped for his sixth save in seven chances.

“Everybody was sensing that here it goes again, we’re going to find a way to win this. I’m sure you guys felt the same way because it’s the way it’s been going,” Matt Carpenter told reporters. “Can’t win them all.”

Manager Mike Matheny sensed it, too, using all of his bench players.

“We’ve got to pull out all the stops,” Matheny said. “It’s going to be an entertaining team to watch if we just keep playing like that.”

The Cardinals entered a major league-best 20-6, the best start for the franchise since 1900, and their NL Central lead was cut to 5 1-2 games over the second-place Cubs. They’re 13-3 at home.

Lester (2-2) left leading 5-4 after seven innings but only one of the runs was earned against the team he dominated in St. Louis in Game 5 of the 2013 World Series. The pitcher’s fielding error covering first led to a run in the second and second baseman Addison Russell missed a liner for a fielding error that led to two more runs in the sixth.

Rizzo hit his fifth homer, and third in five games, in the third and added a two-run double in the fifth. He also homered in the series opener Monday and had three hits and a walk on Tuesday.

Two-out RBI singles by Molina and Pete Kozma cut the deficit to 5-4 in the sixth and pinch-hitter Kolten Wong’s RBI single off Pedro Strop in the eighth again shaved it to 6-5.

Molina has 82 RBIs against the Cubs, most against any opponent.


Cubs: Jake Arrieta (3-2, 2.84) makes his sixth start of the year, all vs. NL Central opponents, and is 3-0 with an 0.74 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis. He gave up a season-high four runs in his last start.

Cardinals: John Lackey (1-1, 3.69) makes his second straight start in a day game.


Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said Junior Lake was demoted to Triple-A Iowa to get regular playing time. He believes call-up Matt Szczur was better equipped to play off the bench.

Cardinals: Two potential rotation replacements for Adam Wainwright, lefties Marco Gonzales and Jaime Garcia, begin rehab assignments from shoulder injuries this weekend with Triple-A Memphis.

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