Cubs 3, Cardinals 0

Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- With two clutch hits, the Chicago Cubs continued the St. Louis Cardinals' recent slide.
Junior Lake's RBI single in the top of the seventh snapped a scoreless tie and Anthony Rizzo's two-run single moments later sealed Chicago's 3-0 shutout of St. Louis Friday night at Busch Stadium.
Chris Rusin (2-1) scattered seven hits over six scoreless innings to earn the win. Four relievers picked up the last nine outs, with Kevin Gregg working the ninth to collect his 24th save.
Lance Lynn (13-6) allowed just three hits in 6 2/3 innings, but walked five and hit two batters. His control problems finally haunted him in the seventh.
Lynn walked Welington Castillo to start the inning and then gave Darwin Barney a free pass with one out. Pinch-hitter Logan Watkins whiffed, but Lake lashed a 3-1 pitch into center field and Castillo beat Jon Jay's throw home.
After plunking Cole Gillespie to fill the bases, Lynn left in favor of lefty reliever Randy Choate. But Rizzo grounded a 2-2 pitch into center field, plating Barney and Lake.
The Cubs (51-64) dropped the Cardinals (66-49) to 1-4 on their 10-game homestand. It did not look like the Cardinals would lose any ground to N.L. Central leading Pittsburgh as the Pirates were losing 10-1 in the eighth inning in Colorado.
Frustration showed in the ninth inning as the Cardinals' Daniel Descalso, along with manager Mike Matheny, were booted by plate umpire David Rackley after Descalso was called out on strikes.
In a matchup of struggling teams -- the Cubs entered 2-9 in their last 11 games, the Cardinals 4-11 in their last 15 -- they failed to produce any meaningful offense for the first five innings.
St. Louis had the better chances, thanks to two-out doubles in the second and fourth inning by Jay. But Rusin intentionally walked Pete Kozma and got out of both threats by retiring Lynn.
The Cardinals then left runners at the corners in the fifth as Rusin got a comebacker from Matt Adams.
Chicago's best opportunity came in the third when it got men to first and second with one out. But Lynn snagged Gillespie's hot one-hopper and turned it into an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.
NOTES: Chicago C Dioner Navarro (right ankle sprain) wasn't with the team Friday as he had his injury checked out. Navarro got good news, as he won't have to go on the disabled list after his home plate collision Wednesday with Philadelphia's Chase Utley. ... Cubs RHP Matt Guerrier has been diagnosed with a flexor mass in his right elbow and will have to make a decision at some point about surgery. The team doesn't believe he'll have to undergo a Tommy John procedure, though. ... St. Louis RHP Carlos Martinez became the team's fifth rookie to start a game Thursday night. Rookies have accounted for 36 of the team's 115 starts, a number that will go up to 37 Saturday night when RHP Michael Wacha is called up from Memphis to start.