Apr 18, 2016 11:51 PM
Lackey strikes out 11 against old team as Cubs top Cards 5-0
The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) John Lackey had a little extra something in the tank for his old team.
The 37-year-old right-hander struck out 11 in seven innings of four-hit ball and delivered an RBI single, leading the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals 5-0 Monday night.
"I've been known to be able to focus a little bit, I guess," Lackey said. "I kind of like this sort of situation."
"You could tell he was amped up," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Jason Heyward, playing at Busch Stadium for the first time since leaving to sign with Chicago, was 0 for 4 at the plate, made two nice catches in right field and was booed throughout.
"Oh yeah, you hear it. It's fun, it's cool, whatever," Heyward said. "They don't boo too often, so it must be somebody important or somebody doing something worth booing."
Dexter Fowler homered for the second time in three days for the Cubs, a major league-best 10-3 and off to their best start since 1970. Chicago has won 15 of its last 16 regular-season road games, going 6-1 this year.
Fowler homered in the sixth, and rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz misplayed a potential double-play grounder in the Cubs' three-run seventh, throwing the ball wildly for an error as a run scored. Addison Russell had a sacrifice fly and Lackey, who entered with a .111 career batting average, singled for a 4-0 lead and his seventh RBI in 129 career at-bats.
He has a hit and an RBI in his last two starts. But it was the pitching numbers that really mattered.
"We talked about it before the game, the focus he was going to have," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He had his sharpness tonight."
Matheny wasn't too hard on Diaz, who doubled and is batting .400 in 35 at-bats.
"Young player, it happens," Matheny said. "We do also see a trend of him getting better the more he gets out there."
Lackey has a 12-4 record at 11-year-old Busch Stadium after entering with a 2.03 ERA at the park, his best among stadiums with four or more starts.
"I feel like it's by far the best place to pitch in the division, as far as size and not giving up homers," Lackey said.
Mike Leake (0-2) allowed four runs three earned and six hits in seven innings in his home debut for St. Louis. At the plate, he botched a squeeze bunt in the fifth, although Kolten Wong scrambled back to third safely to Lackey's ire.
"It was a tough pitch to try to get down. I guess I'll try to practice a little more," said Leake, one of the game's best hitting pitchers. He entered with a .210 career average.
Lackey (3-0) struck out cleanup hitter Brandon Moss three times, and fanned leadoff man Matt Carpenter and No. 5 hitter Stephen Piscotty twice each. The 11 strikeouts, one shy of his career high, was his 20th double-digit strikeout game.
Lackey was 13-10 with a career-best 2.77 ERA with St. Louis last year, taking over as ace after Adam Wainwright tore his left Achilles tendon in April.
Cardinals: SS Ruben Tejada was activated from the 15-day DL from a strained left quadriceps but did not play.
Cubs starters have worked at least six innings in every game. The 13-game streak to start the year is the longest in the majors since 1988 when the Astros had a 22-game streak and the Indians went 17 games, according to STATS.
Heyward is 1 for 18 against Leake with one RBI although he lined out sharply twice. Moss entered 4 for 8 with two RBIs against Lackey.
Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (1-0, 0.75 ERA) has allowed one run in 12 innings with nine strikeouts. He's 2-3 with a 5.97 ERA in seven career starts against St. Louis.
Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia (1-0, 2.40) threw a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts his last time out against Milwaukee.