Nootbaar’s game-ending single lifts Cardinals over Cubs 4-3

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lars Nootbaar hit a tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in the opener of a split doubleheader.

St. Louis trailed 3-0 before rallying in the seventh against Marcus Stroman. Nolan Gorman and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back homers before Nolan Arenado doubled and scored on Nootbaar’s flyball to center.

Arenado and Paul DeJong walked with one out in the ninth against Erich Uelmen (0-1). Nootbaar then drove in Arenado with a liner to right on a 2-2 pitch.

Ryan Helsley (6-1) got three outs for the win, helping the Cardinals pull within a half-game of Milwaukee for the NL Central lead.

Willson Contreras homered for Chicago, which dropped its fourth straight game. Stroman was charged with three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

The doubleheader was scheduled after Wednesday night’s game was postponed by rain. It’s the fourth doubleheader of the season for the Cardinals and No. 5 for the Cubs.

Contreras, who was the subject of trade rumors ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, hit a solo drive in the first for his 15th homer.

The Cubs added two more in the sixth against Miles Mikolas. Contreras doubled and scored on Seiya Suzuki’s single, and Patrick Wisdom added a sacrifice fly.

Mikolas allowed seven hits, struck out six and waked one in 6 1/3 innings.

Rafael Ortega had three hits for Chicago, and Nico Hoerner went 2 for 4.

LONG BALL

The Cardinals have homered in 12 straight games for the majors’ second-longest active streak behind the Yankees (19). St. Louis has hit multiple home runs in six straight games for the longest active streak in MLB.

LONDON CALLING

Major League Baseball announced Thursday that the Cardinals and Cubs will play a two-game series in London in June.

ROSTER MOVES

Cubs: LHP Matt Dermody was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to serve as the 27th man for the split doubleheader. Dermody, 32, is 6-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 20 games (13 starts) for Iowa this season.

Cardinals: Added RHP James Naile as the 27th player for the doubleheader. Naile relieved Mikolas in the seventh and got two outs.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: INF Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder strain) went 1 for 3 with a home run and walk in a rehab game for Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. … LHP Wade Miley (left shoulder strain) threw 49 pitches in 2 1/3 innings Wednesday for Iowa. He gave up three runs and five hits.

Cardinals: RHP Drew VerHagen (right hip impingement) will have hip surgery soon. … LHP Steven Matz (torn left MCL) will not need season-ending surgery and instead will rehab. There is no timetable on when he will be back.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Sean Newcomb (0-0, 11.57 ERA) starts the second game. It’s his first major league start since Aug. 10, 2020, for Atlanta at Philadelphia. On Friday, LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86 ERA) will make his 20th start of the season in the opener of a three-game series against Miami.

Cardinals: LHP José Quintana (3-5, 3.50 ERA) starts the second game of the doubleheader. Quintana was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh on Monday. On Friday, RHP Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.10 ERA) will square off against New York Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.53 ERA) in the opener of a three-game set.

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