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Chicago Cubs batters struggle against St. Louis Cardinals, lose 2-1

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Miles Mikolas pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Jameson Taillon and the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Sunday.

Mikolas allowed one run, struck out five and walked none. The right-hander, who tossed seven scoreless innings on Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his last seven starts.

Pedro Pagés hit a two-run homer for St. Louis, which improved to 4-1 against Chicago this season by taking two of three this weekend.

Taillon pitched six effective innings, but the Cubs' lineup struggled again. They managed just six runs and 17 hits in the series.

Mikolas (5-6) departed after Ian Happ's one-out double in the seventh. Happ scored on Michael Busch's two-out RBI single off Ryan Fernandez, but that was it for the Cubs.

Andrew Kittredge struck out Seiya Suzuki with a runner on third for the final out of the eighth. Ryan Helsley handled the ninth for his major league-best 24th save in 25 opportunities.

Pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom flied out to the warning track in left with two runners on for the final out of the game.

Taillon (3-3) escaped a jam in the first when he struck out Nolan Arenado with two runners on. But Brandon Crawford hit a one-out double in the second and Pagés drove an 0-2 sweeper deep to left-center for his second homer of the season.

Mikolas retired his first nine batters before Mike Tauchman hit a leadoff single in the fourth. Two-out singles by Suzuki and Happ loaded the bases for Nico Hoerner, who bounced into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

It was a close call on the force play at second and the Cubs challenged, but the call was upheld after a video review.


Cardinals: Crawford departed after a swinging strike in the eighth inning. The team said it was because of cramping. ... C Willson Contreras (left arm) likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday. ... LHP Steven Matz (back strain) struck out five while pitching three perfect innings in a rehab appearance with Double-A Springfield. ... INF/OF Tommy Edman (right wrist sprain) is moving his rehab to the team's facility in Florida this week.

Cubs: With LHP Jordan Wicks (right oblique) and RHP Ben Brown (neck strain) sidelined by injuries, RHP Kyle Hendricks will return to the rotation on Wednesday against San Francisco. ... RHP Yency Almonte (shoulder strain) will throw live batting practice on Tuesday, manager Craig Counsell said, and then go on a rehab assignment. ... RHP Julian Merryweather (rib stress fracture) is looking as if he will be back around the All-Star break, according to Counsell.


Cardinals: RHP Sonny Gray (8-4, 3.01 ERA) takes the mound on Monday at Miami. LHP Braxton Garrett (2-2, 6.10 ERA) starts for the Marlins.

Cubs: RHP Javier Assad (4-2, 2.81 ERA) starts on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against San Francisco. RHP Jordan Hicks (4-3, 3.01 ERA) goes for the visiting Giants.



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