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Cardinals homer in each of first five innings, beat Cubs 9-6

Friday, July 27, 2012 | 7:29 p.m. CDT
St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina, rear, celebrates with Daniel Descalso after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the second inning of a game Friday in Chicago. St. Louis won 9-6.

CHICAGO — The Cards almost had five of a kind.

Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and Lance Berkman started a power show by the St. Louis Cardinals, who became the first team in eight years to hit a home run in each of the first five innings and went on to beat the Chicago Cubs 9-6 Friday.

Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig also connected off Travis Wood (4-6), whose five homers allowed matched the Cubs record.

Molina hit a two-run homer in the second, with the rest solo shots.

"The flags were blowing in, but the ball was still carrying," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "There were just a lot of hard hit balls. "Whenever you can mix five home runs in five innings, that's pretty impressive."

Carpenter put St. Louis ahead 7-6 when he homered on the first pitch of the fourth, and Craig homered into the left-field bleachers in the fifth. The previous team to homer in each of the first five innings was Houston against Colorado on Oct. 2, 2004, according to STATS LLC.

"All those balls were crushed," Holliday said. "None of those were cheap home runs. If the wind was blowing out, those would have been a lot more impressive."

Lance Lynn (13-4) tied New York's R.A. Dickey and Washington's Gio Gonzalez for the National League lead in wins despite allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings. Jason Motte completed four shutout innings for the Cardinals' bullpen, getting three outs for his 23rd save in 27 chances as St. Louis won for the seventh time in eight games.

"The offense carried me, and the bullpen came in and did what they do," Lynn said. "It was one of those days — a team win."

Lynn allowed one run in 19 innings during his first three July starts, but the Cubs' first three batters scored. Lynn also gave up three runs in the third as the Cubs rallied to tie 6-6 and ended a streak of 21 straight games in which the St. Louis starter pitched at least six innings — the club's longest stretch since 2004.

"It was hit or miss it seems like," said Lynn, who threw six scoreless innings in his previous start. "The time before I was able to make pitches and get out of innings with runners on. Today when they got the runner on they scored."

Rookie Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, his sixth in 25 games since he was brought up from Triple-A Iowa.

"It's a good feeling to be in that kind of mindset at the plate," Rizzo said. "I just want to stick to it right now and keep going."

Berkman's third-inning homer gave him 1,200 career RBIs and was just his second home run this season. Berkman has reached base in 37 straight games dating to last July 31, the longest streak in the majors, but he has missed 68 games this year because of lower body injuries.

Holliday's solo homer in the first landed just to the left of the camera booth in center field. He added an RBI single in the seventh and singled in the ninth, leaving him with a .434 average, eight homers and 31 RBIs over his last 34 games. He's homered five times in 12 games against the Cubs this season.

Starlin Castro had three hits for the Cubs, including an RBI single in the first and a leadoff triple to center in the third.

Rizzo added an RBI single in the third and scored on Alfonso Soriano's double into the left-field corner, tying the game at 6-all. Rizzo's 28 hits in July are the most among NL rookies.

Wood gave up eight runs and seven hits in five innings and has allowed 22 earned runs in 15 2-3 innings since the All-Star break.

"He does have to keep the ball down," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "You're going to get away with that a little more against some other teams. This team, there's a reason why those left-handed numbers are what they are. If you make a mistake, they don't miss them."

The prior Cubs starter to give up five homers in a game was Carlos Zambrano, in his final start for Chicago last Aug. 12.

"Things didn't go as planned," Wood said. "I missed some pitches, and they didn't miss the pitches that I missed."

Chicago put two runners on in the eighth, bringing the potential tying run to the plate with one out, but Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto hit long flyouts off Marc Rzepczynski.

"I was real happy and impressed with the bullpen," Matheny said.


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