CHICAGO — For 11 straight batters in the eighth inning, the St. Louis Cardinals were unstoppable.
It was an emphatic response to a heartbreaking loss.
Paul DeJong hit a tiebreaking two-run double in St. Louis’ highest-scoring inning of the season, and the Cardinals cooled off the Chicago Cubs with an 11-4 victory on Friday.
“I’ve never been a part of something like that, scoring nine runs with no outs,” DeJong said. “But I think that really made a statement for us.”
Chicago carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth, looking for its seventh consecutive win. But St. Louis’ first 11 batters reached in its biggest inning since it scored nine in the eighth against the Cubs on Aug. 30, 2014, at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals made the most of a combined six walks by three relievers while improving to 4-4 since the All-Star break.
“We just pitched badly for one inning, and some really good pitchers had a tough time,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
St. Louis blew a late one-run lead in a 3-2 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday. The game ended when reliever Trevor Rosenthal was late covering first on Jose Reyes’ winning single with two outs in the ninth.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was interested in his team’s response, and his players provided an answer.
“I saw a little bit of everything,” Matheny said. “I saw some angry. I saw some, you know, kind of like you got the wind kicked out of you a little bit, and I think everybody needed a little bit of something and that eighth inning provided a whole lot of wind in everybody’s sail.”
Carl Edwards Jr. (3-2) was pulled after the first three batters reached. Hector Rondon then walked Jedd Gyorko, tying it at 3, and DeJong followed with a drive into the ivy in right-center for a ground-rule double.
The Cardinals were off and running from there. Carson Kelly hit a two-run double in his first game since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Tommy Pham’s two-run single made it 11-3 before Dexter Fowler bounced into a double play.
When DeJong, the 14th batter of the inning, struck out swinging with runners on second and third for the final out, the crowd of 42,186 cheered sarcastically.
“That was a weird, weird inning,” Rondon said. “First time I’ve seen something like that — nine runs with no outs. It’s weird, but it is what it is.”
Willson Contreras hit a two-run homer for Chicago, and Ben Zobrist had three hits. Jake Arrieta pitched six effective innings, allowing two runs and five hits.
The Cubs played without third baseman Kris Bryant, who sprained his left little finger on a headfirst slide in the first inning of Chicago’s 8-2 victory at Atlanta on Wednesday. X-rays were negative, but Bryant is experiencing soreness and there is some concern about gripping a bat.
Fowler had three hits for St. Louis, and Randal Grichuk homered in his return from a lower back injury. Matt Bowman (2-3) got the final out of the seventh for the win.
Cardinals outfielder Jose Martinez was struck on the left side of his head by teammate Matt Carpenter’s eighth-inning foul ball while he was sitting in the dugout. He was taken back to the clubhouse for concussion testing.
“The thing was really quick, quick and painful,” Martinez said. “But everything feels better right now and trying to stay like this ’til tomorrow. Doctor’s going to keeping having to keep an eye on me and see what’s going to be the symptoms tomorrow.”
Martinez said he didn’t see the liner. Asked about missing the Cardinals’ nine-run inning, a chuckling Martinez said, “I think it’s better when I’m cheering from the training room.”
Cardinals: Grichuk and LHP Zach Duke were activated from the disabled list for the series opener. The 34-year-old Duke, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery last October, retired the only two batters he faced in the seventh. … All-Star C Yadier Molina was scratched with right ankle discomfort. He was available off the bench, but didn’t play. Kelly replaced him in the lineup.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (right hand tendinitis) is on track to return to the rotation early next week, but Maddon wasn’t ready to provide an exact day just yet.
Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (11-5, 5.08 ERA) and Cubs left-hander Jon Lester (6-6, 4.07 ERA) start the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon. Wainwright is 4-0 with a 4.18 ERA in his last four starts. Lester pitched seven crisp innings in a 4-3 victory at Atlanta on Monday night.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap