CHICAGO (AP) — Albert Pujols hits career number 693, Jordan Montgomery pitched a single hitter, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0 on Monday for an eighth straight win.
Pujols led seventh with a shot to center left for his seventh home run in his last 10 games and number 14 overall in his final season in the big league. There was a notable round of cheers from the Wrigley Field crowd of 29,719 as the three-time NL MVP rounded the bases on his second hit of the night.
Drew Smyly became the 449th pitcher to hand a homer to the 42-year-old Pujols, who equaled Barry Bonds for the major league record. It was Pujols’ 940th multi-hit game, tying Paul Waner for 10th on the career list.
That run was all Montgomery (7-3) needed. The southpaw has knocked out seven and made none in his first full career game, improving to 4-0 in four games since being acquired in an Aug. 2 trade with the New York Yankees.
Rookie Christopher Morel doubled up with two outs in the third for Chicago’s only hit. Morel made it to third place when shortstop Paul DeJong missed left fielder Tyler O’Neill’s relay. But Montgomery retired Nick Madrigal in a grounder for DeJong, ending the entry.
Montgomery threw 99 shots for the NL Central leaders in the opener in a five-game streak, 65 for hits.
Chicago squandered a sharp performance by Smyly (5-7) in their second straight loss after a five-game winning streak. The southpaw allowed four hits, eliminated six and walked two in seven innings.
Yadier Molina made it 0-3 for St. Louis after missing the previous two games so he could be with his basketball team in Puerto Rico at the end of the championship. Molina, 40, owns Vaqueros de Bayamón, who beat San Germán 75-61 on Saturday to claim their 16th Baloncesto Superior Nacional title.
Cardinals: LHP Steven Matz (MCL left break) is scheduled to hold another side session on Wednesday. … Coach Oliver Marmol said he received a positive report about Jack Flaherty’s third rehab match on Sunday. Flaherty, who is recovering from a right shoulder injury, played four innings in a run for Double-A Springfield. Flaherty will make another rehab start with Triple-A Memphis on Friday, moving up to about 80 shots. “Once we get through this, let’s sit down… and figure out what’s next,” Marmol said.
Cubs: 3B Patrick Wisdom (injured ring finger on left hand) was out of the lineup, but coach David Ross said he was available off the bench. … RHP Kyle Hendricks will not be returning this season. Hendricks is recovering from a capsular shoulder injury. … RHP Adbert Alzolay (right shoulder strain) was scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment at Arizona Complex League on Monday night.
The teams play a double match on Tuesday. Adam Wainwright (9-8, 3.11 ERA) starts the opening for St. Louis, and Jake Woodford (2-0, 2.66 ERA) takes over the mound for the second game. Javier Assad makes his major league debut for Chicago in Game 1, and Adrian Sampson (1-3, 3.51 ERA) gets the ball for the drink.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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