ST. LOUIS (AP) — Travis Wood made a beeline for fellow pitcher Jeff Samardzija’s locker. He wanted to apologize for all of that run support.
“I instantly came in here and gave him a hug and said sorry,” the lefty said after the Chicago Cubs got six RBIs from Junior Lake in a 17-5 rout over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night. “The offense played great, they brought their `A’ game.”
Samardzija has a 1.45 ERA, but is 0-3. The Cubs have totaled 15 runs in his eight starts.
Lake homered and doubled twice for Chicago, which had lost seven of eight overall. The Cubs totaled just four runs while getting swept in a three-game series at Atlanta over the weekend – Emilio Bonifacio scored five times himself in this romp.
“That’s what we needed,” Lake said. “Just play hard and something happened good.”
Chicago has the worst record in the league at 13-24, but is 4-3 against the defending NL champions. The Cardinals were forced to finish with infielder Daniel Descalso as a relief pitcher getting the final out in the ninth.
It’s the first time St. Louis used a position player to pitch since Rob Johnson against the Dodgers in a 13-4 loss at home Aug. 7.
“It’s embarrassing to have to put him into that spot,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s a team guy and understands, but should have never been in that spot to begin with.”
“It’s tough for all of us to watch.”
The Cubs hit for the cycle in the first five batters – Bonifacio doubled, Anthony Rizzo singled, Starlin Castro tripled and Mike Olt’s two-run homer capped a four-run first inning.
Bonifacio had four of Chicago’s 20 hits and scored a career-best five times – the most in the majors this season – once on a play overturned by video review. Rizzo and Castro each drove in three as the Cubs set season highs for runs and hits.
Cardinals reliever Randy Choate gave up a career-worst six runs in the ninth and left with two outs. Descalso made his first pro pitching appearance and retired the only batter he faced, getting Olt on a fly ball.
“I just went out there and did what they asked me to do,” Descalso said. “I really don’t want to talk about this.”
Wood (3-4) beat St. Louis for the second time in three starts despite giving up five runs in six innings. He hit two batters in the fifth and both scored.
Tyler Lyons (0-3) surrendered nine runs in four innings in his fourth start in place of injured Joe Kelly.
“I felt a lot better the first two innings than I did in the third and fourth,” Lyons said. “It’s just one of those things. Sometimes you just get hit, I guess.”
Allen Craig drove in two runs for the Cardinals. Yadier Molina had two hits, an RBI and a steal when he caught Wood napping in the fifth and took third without a throw.
Lake hit a three-run homer in the second for a 7-0 lead. He had an RBI double in the fourth and a two-run double in the ninth.
Lake began the game with eight RBIs in 92 at-bats this season. Three of his four homers have come against the Cardinals.
“He’s electric, for sure,” Wood said. “When he’s on, he’s on. He’s got tremendous pop and nice to see it come out.”
Olt leads NL with eight homers, including four in the last six games, all on the road.
In the fourth, Bonifacio was called out at the plate when he tried to score on Rizzo’s grounder to short with the infield in. The Cubs challenged the call, and the ruled was reversed.
NOTES: The Cubs’ previous bests for runs and hits came at Comiskey Park on Thursday when they scored 12 runs on 15 hits against the White Sox. … Bonifacio is the first Cubs player to score five runs since Jody Davis in 1987. … Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (6-2, 4.75) opposes Jake Arrieta (0-0, 2.89) in the second game of a four-game set. Wainwright is 9-7 for his career against Chicago but just 3-6 with a 4.83 ERA at home, and is coming off his first career loss at Wrigley Field on May 2. … Cardinals LHP Jaime Garcia, rehabbing from shoulder surgery, allowed two runs on three hits in five innings for Triple-A Memphis.