Pederson, Rizzo, Contreras homer as Cubs beat Cardinals 8-5

Joc Pederson homered and drove in three runs, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras went deep and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-5 on Friday afternoon

CHICAGO — Joc Pederson homered and drove in three runs, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras went deep and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-5 on Friday.

Wrigley Field allowed 100% capacity for the first time since 2019 on what the Cubs called “Opening Day 2.0:. They fell behind 5-1, then treated a crowd of 35,112 to a comeback win over their NL Central rivals.

Pederson gave the Cubs a 7-5 lead in the seventh with a two-run double off the wall in right-center against Génesis Cabrera (1-2). He also singled leading off the first and homered in his second straight game when he drove one to the center-field basket against against Johan Oviedo in the fourth.

Rizzo tied it at 5-all in the sixth with his drive to right against Daniel Ponce de Leon. It came on the 14th pitch of the at-bat, the longest by a Cub to end in a homer since at least 1988, and the fans erupted in delight.

Contreras added a solo homer in the eighth.

Kohl Stewart got chased during a three-run fifth. But the Cubs scored three in the bottom half, knocking Oviedo out of the game, to pull within 5-4.

Stewart gave up five runs and six hits in four-plus innings. Four relievers combined to shut down the Cardinals.

Tommy Nance (1-0) threw two innings to win his first major league decision. Ryan Tepera worked the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel retired all three batters in the ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.

The Cardinals lost for the seventh time in eight games and have fallen from first place before play to May 31 to a 32-31 record.

Nolan Arenado drove in three runs. Yadier Molina had three hits, but the nine-time Gold Glove catcher also allowed runs to score on a passed ball and throwing error in the fifth.

Oviedo allowed four runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: SS Paul DeJong (non-displaced rib fracture) returned to the lineup after being sidelined since May 12. … The Cardinals were hopeful LHP Kwang Hyun Kim (lower back tightness) won’t need to go on a rehab assignment before returning from the injured list, manager Mike Shildt said. … RHP Kodi Whitley (back) has resumed playing catch and could throw off the mound in the next three to five days, Shildt said.

Cubs: SS Javier Báez (sore right thumb) returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games. … The Cubs placed C P.J. Higgins (strained right forearm) on the 10-day injured list and selected C José Lobatón from Triple-A Iowa. They also designated RHP Dakota Chalmers for assignment.

UP NEXT

RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-4, 4.59 ERA) looks to win his sixth straight start for Chicago, while RHP John Gant (4-3, 2.63) pitches for St. Louis. Hendricks has a 2.91 ERA in his past five outings.

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