CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Carpenter has a garden in his backyard that was planted by teammate Adam Wainwright. The infielder is using the fresh ingredients to make his own salsa, and he brought some on St. Louis’ road trip for the first time.
Apparently, it’s one potent mixture.
Carpenter homered for the sixth consecutive game and Paul DeJong hit a tiebreaking double in the Cardinals’ three-run ninth inning, helping St. Louis beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3 on Saturday for a split of their day-night doubleheader.
“It’s really hard to put into words what is happening and what I feel like,” Carpenter said. “I’ve felt like this before in the sense that I feel like I’m comfortable at the plate, I feel like I’m swinging at good pitches and my swing feels like it’s where it needs to be. But obviously, I’ve never had a stretch like this. It’s hard to put into words. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the salsa.”
Carpenter entered as a defensive replacement in the sixth and hit a solo drive in the seventh for his fifth homer in two days. He also had a solo shot in the opener after going 5 for 5 with three homers and seven RBIs while playing just six innings in St. Louis’ 18-5 victory Friday.
Carpenter became the first player in Cardinals history to homer in six consecutive games during one season. He matched the club record held by Mark McGwire, who connected in six straight games over two years.
“You talk about the definition of locked in; that’s what it looks like,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.
Carpenter said he is starting to get requests from his teammates for his salsa.
“Oh, yeah, now it’s becoming a thing,” he said. “Everybody’s like, ‘What did you put in that stuff?'”
The Cardinals trailed 3-2 before Yairo Munoz hit a tying single with two outs in the eighth. DeJong came up with runners on first and second in the ninth and delivered an RBI double to left field against Steve Cishek.
Tommy Pham added a two-run double as St. Louis improved to 7-5 against NL Central-leading Chicago this season. Sam Tuivailala (2-3) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win and Bud Norris got three outs for his 18th save on a blustery day at Wrigley Field.
It was one sweet swing for DeJong, who committed a costly error in Chicago’s three-run sixth. He also bounced into a critical double play during St. Louis’ 7-2 loss in the opener.
“That speaks to his character and his makeup,” Shildt said.
Anthony Rizzo had four hits from the leadoff spot and Mike Montgomery pitched six effective innings, but the Cubs’ bullpen was unable to close it out. Justin Wilson (3-3) took the loss after walking Carpenter and Harrison Bader to begin the ninth.
Rizzo also reached four times in Game 1, including three walks and a leadoff triple. The big first baseman is batting .542 (13 for 24) in seven games since manager Joe Maddon put him in the leadoff spot to try to jolt him out of a slump.
The Cubs took the opener behind Tyler Chatwood (4-5), who pitched into the sixth inning for his first win since May 11. Ben Zobrist went 4 for 4 and Javier Baez had three hits and two RBIs in the makeup of an April 16 rainout.
“I thought we just really worked the field well,” Maddon said. “A lot of good at-bats.”
Maddon and Baez did not make it to the end of the night, and neither was very happy about it. Baez was ejected in the fifth inning of the second game after he threw his bat and helmet when plate umpire Will Little called him out on a check swing. Maddon then was thrown out for protesting the decision.
The Cubs were upset with Little for not checking with first base ump Ted Barrett, and then throwing out Baez for tossing his equipment.
“He did nothing to be kicked out of that game,” Maddon said. “He did throw his stuff, whatever, but he didn’t say anything derogatory towards the umpire. … I kept telling him you should have fined him, you can’t kick him out right there.”
Said Baez: “We’re not animals. Sometimes we ask where was that pitch or if it was a strike. They want to come at us like we offended them.”
A reporter asked a clubhouse attendant to speak with an umpire, but none was made available.
The Cardinals finished with just two hits in the opener. Luke Weaver (5-9) allowed three runs and seven hits in four-plus innings.
“It’s one of those days that’s frustrating and you just have to give it everything you’ve got,” Weaver said.
Cardinals: INF Jed Gyorko did not play in the doubleheader due to an illness. … RHP Carlos Martinez was put on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. The move is retroactive to Friday, a day after Martinez struggled through five innings in a 9-6 loss to the Cubs. RHP Miles Mikolas was activated from the paternity list and reliever John Brebbia was recalled from Triple-A Memphis.
Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana starts Sunday for the first time since July 10. He has been working on his changeup with pitching coach Jim Hickey, but Maddon said Quintana also has been dealing with some shoulder fatigue. “Nothing awful,” Maddon said. “Just give him a couple extra days.”
Mikolas (10-3, 2.79 ERA) and Quintana (8-6, 3.96 ERA) pitch in the finale of the five-game set.
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