Wainwright, reunited with Molina, hurls Cards past Cubs 6-0

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright pitched seven spotless innings with longtime catcher Yadier Molina back behind the plate, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 on Tuesday night.

Paul Goldschmidt homered and drove in three runs to lead the St. Louis offense. Dylan Carlson, the subject of trade speculation before Tuesday’s deadline, hit a two-run shot and made a nice catch in center field. Nolan Arenado also went deep.

“Anytime you can block out the noise, you can focus on the goal,” said Carlson, now the team’s regular center fielder after injured Harrison Bader was traded to the Yankees. “To be able to come to the park the same way is a good thing for me. I want to produce, contribute and help this team win.”

Molina returned from knee inflammation that had sidelined him since June 16. Paired once again with Wainwright, the two 40-year-olds teamed up to shut down Chicago.

“It’s really good to see those two together and see Yadi back behind the plate,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “It’s meaningful. Definitely a plus.”

Wainwright (8-8) allowed six hits and struck out four in his 192nd career win.

“I had terrible stuff,” Wainwright said. “Didn’t have a fastball. Slider was kind of sloppy. Curveball was OK, thankfully. Changeup stinks. But we made it work.”

Molina flashed his Gold Glove form by throwing out Rafael Ortega attempting to steal second in the first inning.

“It was a good throw. I set him up perfectly for that,” Wainwright quipped. “I’m just kidding. I’m glad to have him back. He’s the greatest catcher of our lifetime.”

Wainwright and Molina made their 317th career start as batterymates, passing the Boston/Milwaukee Braves duo of Warren Spahn and Del Crandall for sole possession of second place in major league history since 1901. The only pair in front is Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan (324) of the Detroit Tigers (1963-75).

Molina last caught Wainwright on June 11 against Cincinnati. Wainwright made eight starts without Molina behind the plate from June 17 to July 27, going 2-4 with a 3.93 ERA.

“I knew everything I missed about him,” Wainwright said.

Molina caught his 153rd career shutout. That’s second only to Yogi Berra (173) in MLB history.

Goldschmidt drove in two runs in the third with a single.

A three-run fifth put St. Louis up 5-0. Carlson’s homer came after Tommy Edman led off with a walk. With one out, Goldschmidt hit his 25th homer.

Arenado added his 20th home run with two outs in the seventh.

Cubs starter Keegan Thompson (8-5) gave up five runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

“Probably just not his best outing,” Chicago manager David Ross said. “His stuff wasn’t as sharp as it has been. He wasn’t as crisp and they took advantage of it.”

MILESTONE MAN

After finishing the first, Wainwright reached 2,500 innings for his career. He is the fifth active MLB pitcher and fourth Cardinal all-time to reach that threshold.

TRADE DEADLINE MOVES

Cubs: Acquired minor league RHP Ben Brown from the Philadelphia Phillies for RHP David Robertson. … Claimed RHP Kervin Castro off waivers from the San Francisco Giants and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa. Castro was designated for assignment Monday by the Giants. … Acquired minor league RHP Saúl González from the New York Mets for RHP Mychal Givens. … Acquired RHP Hayden Wesneski from the New York Yankees for RHP Scott Effross.

Cardinals: Acquired LHP Jordan Montgomery from the New York Yankees for Bader. … Got veteran LHP José Quintana and RHP Chris Stratton from Pittsburgh for RHP Johan Oviedo and minor league INF Malcom Nunez.

COME FLY WITH ME

The Cardinals have homered in 11 straight games. The streak started July 15. It’s the second-longest active streak in the majors behind the Yankees (17). The Cardinals have multiple home runs in five straight games.

ROSTER MOVES

Cubs: Reinstated 2B Nick Madrigal from the 10-day injured list and recalled RHP Michael Rucker and RHP Anderson Espinoza from Triple-A Iowa.

Cardinals: Activated Molina from the 10-day injured list. … Optioned RHP Junior Fernández to Triple-A Memphis. … Designated C Austin Romine for assignment.

WELCOME BACK, HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Cardinals SS Paul DeJong turned 29 and celebrated by returning to the lineup at Busch Stadium. DeJong, an All-Star in 2019, was sent to Triple-A Memphis on May 10. He was recalled Saturday when the Cardinals played in Washington.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Placed LHP Steven Brault on the COVID-19 injured list. … LHP Wade Miley (left shoulder strain) is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start with Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday.

Cardinals: INF/OF Juan Yepez (right forearm strain) can hit but can’t throw yet. Yepez went on the injured list July 15, a day after making an 84.5 mph throw from right field to nab Dodgers slugger Freddie Freeman at the plate.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86 ERA) lasted only 3 2/3 innings last time out in San Francisco. He will be making his third career start against the Cardinals. He took a no-decision in his first start against them this season, tossing seven innings and allowing one earned run.

Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (8-8, 2.86) went seven innings last Friday, allowing two runs and six hits in the Cardinals’ 6-2 win over the Nationals.

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