Bryant homers, keys big rally as Cubs pound Cardinals 8-2

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Kris Bryant, who homered in the fourth inning, said the commotion with Lackey and Contreras might have helped the Cubs.

The Cubs saw their lead in the division dwindle to two games after Milwaukee swept them at Wrigley Field last weekend, but the same offense that mustered only five runs and 19 hits against the Brewers came alive versus the New York Mets, piling up 39 runs and 41 hits while winning each game by at least five runs.

Louis Cardinals have been playing their best baseball of the season and that has the team back in the National League Central race. (Oh, how they hated Edmonds - until Jimmy ballgame briefly wore their uniform, then he was wonderful - but I digress.) In the places of those former stars are a group of young phenoms the Wee Bears weren't counting on to drag the Redbirds back into relevance. No one is quiet sure what Contreras said to get tossed, as he seemed relatively calm when he got tossed.

Time is running out on this Cardinals team. Midway through the game, with Cardinals' players on first and second base, Lackey threw what most certainly should have been a called strike three, but umpire Jordan Baker called a ball. "He's done a real nice job of taking advantage of the opportunity".

Naturally, Martinez drilled a RBI single as a result of the following pitch, prompting Lackey to lose his cool. Before the play even ended, Lackey charged Baker to berate him with a host of expletives and was quickly ejected. He's a worse baserunner than Matt Carpenter, and that's not a good thing to hang your hat on.

After the game, Lackey was still doing a slow burn. "It cost me a big league win". The Cubs are 37-21 since the All-Star break, and they have spent the past 51 days in first place.

This afternoon, Bryant put this reinvigorated skill to use, hitting a towering opposite field home run off Carlos Martinez to tie the game in the bottom of the 4th. An even better record is required to catch the Cubs or Rockies.

The Cubs are 9-4 against the Cardinals, and 6-1 at Wrigley, this season.

Picking up the win for the pitching staff today was Carl Edwards Jr. who moves to 4-4 for the season.

Tseng replaced lefty Mike Montgomery, a swing man the Cubs used out of the bullpen for two innings.

As Lackey put it: "He missed the pitch". Contreras slammed his face mask on the ground, which ricocheted into the Baker's leg, then proceeded to give the umpire a piece of his mind.

"There's nothing structurally wrong with him", said Joe Maddon.

"Why would I even think that?"

"A lot of different factors, dealing with a less-than-ideal set of circumstances for the short term", Epstein said.

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