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Observations: Cubs rally, beat Cards in Wrigley Opener 2.0 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Cubs beat the Cardinals 8-5 Friday afternoon, improving to 36-27 this season.
Here are 10 observations from the game:
1. The first full capacity crowd at Wrigley Field since 2019 was on its feet chanting Anthony Rizzo’s name as he fouled off pitch after pitch from Daniel Ponce de Leon in the sixth. He rewarded the 35,112 in attendance by smacking a home run on the 14th pitch of the at-bat to tie things at 5.
2. Rizzo fouled off 10 pitches in that at-bat, including nine with two strikes. His home run on the 14th pitch is the latest a Cub has gone deep in a plate appearance since pitch tracking began in 1988, according to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs.
3. Joc Pederson wasn’t kidding when he said he’s going to keep breaking out Fernando Tatis Jr.’s famous stutter-step on his home run trots. Pederson hit his fourth homer in his last seven games, pulling off the move as he rounded third base in the fourth.
4. Pederson has come on strong since returning from the injured list last month. Since May 4, he’s 35-for-117 (.299) with seven home runs and 21 RBIs. He went 3-for-4 with a home run, double and three RBIs Friday.
His two-run double in the seventh gave the Cubs a lead they did not relinquish.
5. Two misplays by Yadi Molina helped the Cubs rally for three runs in the fifth. Molina was charged with a passed ball that allowed Willson Contreras to score and move Jason Heyward to second. His throwing error on a pickoff attempt to third base that sailed into left field brought in another run.
6. You never want to walk the opposing pitcher, certainly not to lead off an inning, let alone on four pitches. Two such walks off Kohl Stewart by Cardinals starter Johan Oviedo came back to hurt, with Oviedo scoring both times.
7. Stewart wasn’t sharp in his 4+ innings. Those were his only two walks, but the Cardinals tagged him for five runs on six hits to take an early 5-1 lead.
8. Sergio Alcántara is an extra-base hit machine. After his triple in the fifth, the 24-year-old has eight hits in 12 games with the Cubs — six for extra bases. Three of those are triples.
9. The Cubs welcomed a full capacity crowd back to Wrigley Field with their 22nd home win of the season. They now lead the National League in home wins.
10. Friday’s win pushes the Cubs to nine games above .500, tied for a season best.
On deck: The Cubs host the Cardinals again Saturday night. First pitch is 6:15 p.m. Kyle Hendricks (7-4, 4.59 ERA) and John Gant (4-3, 2.63 ERA) are the probable starters.
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