Kyle Hendricks needed just 81 pitches for a four-hitter, Anthony Rizzo homered for his third straight game and the Chicago Cubs beat the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 on Friday.
The second-place Cubs won their season-high fifth in a row while cutting St. Louis’ lead to 1½ games. The Cardinals have back-to-back losses after five consecutive victories.
Hendricks (2-4) pitched his third career shutout and fourth complete game, his first since he shut out Miami on Aug. 1, 2016. The right-hander struck out three and did not walk a batter, after getting pounded in a loss at Arizona last week. Hendricks improved to 4-0 in five career starts against St. Louis.
Rizzo made it 3-0 with a three-run drive against Jack Flaherty (3-2) in the third and finished with three hits. Javier Baez added an RBI single in the seventh, and the Cubs opened a 10-game homestand with a win.
Flaherty allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Rizzo drove an 0-1 pitch to the party deck in right for his eighth homer after Daniel Descalso and Kris Bryant drew back-to-back walks in the third. The home run was his 199th, all but one of them for Chicago.
The Cubs added a run in the seventh when Bryant doubled with two outs and scored on Baez’s single. Baez got caught in a rundown with Willson Contreras batting. and Rizzo was thrown out at the plate.
Cardinals: General manager John Mozeliak said it’s a high probability RHP Luke Gregerson (shoulder impingement) will be activated from the injured list prior to Saturday’s game. Gregerson threw batting practice Wednesday. Mozeliak said the Cardinals figured he would need two days off before returning. … OF Dexter Fowler (flu-like symptoms) pinch hit in the ninth after missing the previous three games.
Cubs: The Cubs returned RHP Tony Barnette (right shoulder inflammation) from a rehab assignment and transferred him to the 60-day injured list. Barnette, who made four rehab appearances for Triple-A Iowa, continues to experience tightness after he throws and will return to the Cubs’ facility in Arizona.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (2-0, 4.78 ERA) went five innings in a win against Washington on Monday after missing a start because of tendinitis in his left knee.
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.02) looks to build on his best start of the season after going six innings in a 9-1 victory at Arizona last week. The four-time All-Star allowed two hits, struck out eight and walked four.