CHICAGO (AP) — Albert Pujols reached out and drove Drew Smyly’s high fastball into the night sky at Wrigley Field.
Just like that, it’s over. Put Smyly on Pujols’ list.
Pujols hit career homer No. 693, Jordan Montgomery hit a homer and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0 on Monday for their eighth straight win of the season.
Pujols led off the seventh with a drive to left-center for his seventh homer in his last 10 games and No. 14 overall in his final big league season. There was a notable round of cheers from the crowd of 29,719 as the three-time NL MVP homered on his second hit of the night.
“I think at the end of the day you know you have to trust your work and that’s something I do,” the 42-year-old Pujols said. “I come out here, wherever I play, and I’ve been doing my job for 22 years.”
Pujols tied Barry Bonds’ major league record by striking out his 449th different pitcher. It was Pujols’ 940th multi-hit game, tying him with Paul Waner for 10th on the career list.
Smyly (5-7) said it was a tough way to lose considering the pitch was so far out of the strike zone.
“I just thought about changing his eye level and, you know, not letting him hit it obviously was my thought,” Smyly said.
“But it’s ‘The Machine’ for a reason. Come back.”
That one run was all Montgomery (7-3) needed. The left-hander struck out seven and walked none in his first career complete game, improving to 4-0 with a sparkling 0.35 ERA in four starts since being acquired on Aug. 2 in a trade with the New York Yankees.
“Every bullpen I work on something and then when I get the ball I compete and just try to make pitches,” he said.
Rookie Christopher Morrell doubled with two outs in the third for Chicago’s only hit. Morrell advanced to third when shortstop Paul DeJong mishandled a relay from left fielder Tyler O’Neill. But Montgomery retired Nick Madrigal on a groundout to De Jong, ending the inning.
Montgomery threw 99 pitches for the NL Central leaders in the first game of a five-game series, 65 for strikes.
“It’s a very special outing,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.
Chicago lost a blowout performance from Smyly (5-7) in its second straight loss after a five-game winning streak. The lefty allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two in seven innings.
“He throws the ball really well for us,” coach David Ross said. “That was a really impressive night from both starts, obviously.”
Yadier Molina went 0-3 for St. Louis after missing the previous two games so he could be with his basketball team in Puerto Rico for the end of the league. Molina, 40, owns Vaqueros de Bayamón, which beat San Germán 75-61 on Saturday to capture its 16th Baloncesto Superior Nacional title.
Cardinals: LHP Steven Matz (left MCL tear) is set to have another side session Wednesday. … Marmol said he got a positive report on Jack Flaherty’s third rehab start Sunday. Flaherty, who is returning from a strained right shoulder, tossed four innings of one-hit ball for Double-A Springfield. Flaherty will make another rehab start with Triple-A Memphis on Friday, hitting about 80 pitches. “Once we get through that, we’ll sit down … and figure out what’s next,” Marmol said.
Cubs: 3B Patrick Wisdom (injured ring on left hand) was out, but manager David Ross said he was available off the bench. … RHP Kyle Hendricks will not return this season. Hendrix is recovering from a capsular tear in his shoulder. … RHP Adbert Alzolay (right shoulder strain) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in the Arizona Complex League on Monday night.
The teams play a split doubleheader on Tuesday. Adam Wainwright (9-8, 3.11 ERA) starts the first game for St. Louis, and Jake Woodford (2-0, 2.66 ERA) takes the mound for game two. Javier Assad makes his big league debut for Chicago in Game 1 and Adrian Sampson (1-3, 3.51 ERA) gets the nightcap.
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