Carpenter crushes three homers, Cardinals rout Cubs

Matt Carpenter hit three home runs and drove in seven runs to back five strong innings of pitching from Jack Flaherty as the St. Louis Cardinals powered their way past the host Chicago Cubs 18-5 on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Carpenter also slugged two doubles as part of his 5-for-5 performance, becoming the second player ever to hit three homers and two doubles in the same game. The Cubs' Kris Bryant first accomplished the feat in 2016.

Carpenter tied the major league record with five extra-base hits in a game, and he's the first player to record the feat in the first six innings of a game. He was replaced defensively in the bottom of the sixth with the Cardinals leading 15-1.

He tied former Cardinals great Lou Brock's franchise mark with his 21st leadoff home run of his career off the Cubs' Jon Lester to begin the game.

Carpenter slugged his second homer, a two-run shot, in the second inning, and he added to his hit total when he racked up a pair doubles in the fourth as St. Louis marched 11 batters to the plate in the frame while scoring seven runs. He opened the inning with a double to left and capped the scoring in the frame with an RBI double to right-center.

Then in the sixth, Carpenter bashed a three-run homer, his 23rd of the season, to end his record performance.

He has homered in four straight games for the first time in his career.

Carpenter was not the only story in this game, as Flaherty (4-4) earned the win while allowing one run and just two hits in his 110-pitch outing that included nine strikeouts and four walks.

Lester (12-3), who had been brilliant in winning eight of his past nine starts, took the loss after surrendering eight runs, all earned, on seven hits and five walks in three innings of work. He struck out just one batter.

In an effort to conserve his bullpen for a doubleheader Saturday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon used three position players to pitch the final 3 1/3 innings. Infielder Tommy La Stella (three hits, one run) came to the mound first, followed by catcher Victor Caratini (two hits, two runs) and outfielder Ian Happ (one hit, no runs).

Tommy Pham had three hits and three RBIs for St. Louis, while Kolten Wong ripped two hits and drove in one. Dexter Fowler had two hits and plated two, and Greg Garcia had a solo home run for the Cardinals.

Yairo Munoz added a two-run blast in the eighth.

Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. each had two of Chicago's 10 total hits, with Schwarber driving in two runs. Bryant added a solo home run in the seventh, when the game was long over.

--Field Level Media