Jack Flaherty struck out nine in seven strong innings and catcher Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer as the Cardinals beat the Cubs 8-0 on Thursday in St. Louis in a matchup of NL Central leaders.
The Cardinals won two games in the three-game set and claimed first in the division, a game ahead of Chicago. The Cubs have lost four of six overall and 11 of their past 16 on the road.
Flaherty allowed one hit and walked two in his first win since May 14, a span of 79 days and 12 starts. Tyler Webb and Mike Mayers pitched an inning apiece to complete the one-hitter.
Flaherty threw well at times during his winless stretch — he allowed two earned runs or fewer in four successive starts coming into Thursday.
Most important, he remained philosophical during the rough stretch.
“It’s going to take care of itself nine times out of 10,” Flaherty said.
Photo: Jeff Curry / Getty Images
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It certainly did.
Flaherty held the Cubs without a hit until Nicholas Castellanos singled to right with two outs in the sixth. Flaherty retired 13 straight batters from the first to fifth innings.
“He was in control of what he was doing,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said.
Marlins 5, Twins 4: Harold Ramirez homered in the 12th to give host Miami the win. Minnesota led 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, but newly-arrived closer Sam Dyson — pitching on three hours’ sleep after a trade from the Giants — failed to retire any of the four batters he faced and was charged with three runs.
Astros 7, Indians 1: Gerrit Cole pitched one-run ball over seven innings and extended his winning streak to nine games as visiting Houston rolled. Cleveland’s Danny Salazar, returning from a shoulder injury that had sidelined him since the 2017 AL Division Series, allowed two runs in four innings.
Rays 9, Red Sox 4: Brendan McKay struck out seven and Mike Zunino and Austin Meadows homered as visiting Tampa Bay completed a three-game sweep. Xander Bogaerts was 4-for-4 with two homers for Boston.
Braves 4, Reds 1: Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and Adam Duvall went deep for the fifth time in six games for host Atlanta in a game halted after six innings because of rain.
Mets 4, White Sox 0: Zack Wheeler pitched seven strong innings and Robinson Cano drove in two runs with a homer and double as visiting New York won its seventh in a row. The Mets have won 13 of their past 17.
Blue Jays 11, Orioles 2: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit two of his team’s five home runs to back a solid pitching performance by fellow rookie Trent Thornton for visiting Toronto.
Dodgers 8, Padres 2: Will Smith’s sixth-inning grand slam gave host Los Angeles a lead it would not relinquish.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Cardinals-alone-atop-NL-Central-after-1-hitter-14275175.php.