Cubs cough up late lead as Cardinals surge to Saturday win

Brendan Donovan had a two-run single, Lars Nootbaar added an RBI triple and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied in the eighth inning to beat the Chicago Cubs 7-6 on Saturday night.

In front of their first sellout crowd since opening day, the Cardinals scored four times with two outs in the eighth and won for the ninth time in 11 games in a surge that followed a seven-game losing streak.

Matt Carpenter had a pinch-hit single to tie it, with Alec Burleson sliding head first and touching home plate with his left hand just before he was tagged by catcher Miguel Amaya.

“It was so close,” Burleson said. “I was just trying to get to the plate as fast as I could with my hand.”

Donovan followed by chopping a single into left field to put St. Louis up 6-4 and chase Mark Leiter Jr. (1-2). Nootbaar added a run with his triple off Porter Hodge.

“He’s got really good stuff,” Donovan said about Leiter, who came in with a 0.90 ERA while allowing lefties to hit just .149. “I was just trying to hit something hard.”

Ryan Helsley gave up RBI singles by Mike Tauchman and Cody Bellinger in the ninth, but he retired Christopher Morel on a grounder for his 16th save in 17 chances.

“Just going against one of the best back-end bullpens in the game in that situation, to keep fighting, I really thought we were going to pull that out,” Cubs starter Jameson Taillon said. “That was pretty incredible.”

The Cubs went ahead in the seventh with a rally that started after Michael Busch reached when the ball squirted out of Paul Goldschmidt’s glove when he tried to catch a throw from second baseman Nolan Gorman. After Swanson walked, Patrick Wisdom pulled a tiebreaking RBI double just inside third base to score Busch.

JoJo Romero (2-0) got the final out of the seventh and pitched a scoreless eighth.

“That was a lot of fun,” Burleson said. “That game, just the back and forth, you can’t really describe it.”

The Cubs have lost eight of 11, getting shutout three times in that stretch. They averaged 2.3 runs in their previous 10 games.

Nico Hoerner hit a two-run double in the fourth that just cleared a leaping Donovan and hit the bullpen wall in left field. He then scored on Busch’s single to center to give the Cubs their first lead.

Masyn Winn’s two-out RBI double to the left-field corner in the sixth made it 3-3 and brought Taillon’s outing to an end. Taillon gave up three runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

The Cubs decided to skip of rookie sensation Shota Imanaga (5-0, 0.84 ERA), the scheduled starter in Friday night’s rainout.

Click here to follow the Cubs Talk Podcast.