The Friendly Confines have not been too kind to the Chicago Cubs lately.
Entering Friday afternoon's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs were 6-13 in July at Wrigley Field and had gone 0-4-1 in their last five series at home.
The task would seem to become even more daunting against the Cardinals, even though St. Louis entered with a season-long three-game losing streak.
In a see-saw contest, the Cubs managed to hold on for a 7-6 victory in front of the largest crowd of the season at Wrigley Field -- 41,534.
The Cardinals struck with three unearned runs in the first inning. Matt Carpenter led off with a single and Matt Holliday delivered a one-out base hit. Matt Adams was safe at first on a fielder's choice grounder as second baseman Arismendy Alcantara threw wildly to second on the force attempt. Carpenter scored on the error.
With two outs, Jon Jay doubled into the leftfield corner. When Chris Coghlan bobbled the ball for an error as it caromed off the wall, two runners scored to make it 3-0.
Ryan Sweeney hit a 3-run homer in the second inning to tie the game 3-3. It was his second of the season.
Sweeney drove in his fourth run of the day in the third inning with a two-out single to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
Cubs pitcher Travis Wood helped his own cause when he blasted his third homer of the year to make it 5-3 in the bottom of the fourth.
But the Cardinals answered with a leadoff homer by Carpenter in the fifth inning to cut the Cubs' lead to 5-4. And Holliday skied a homer into the leftfield bleachers to tie the game at 5.
Oscar Taveras delivered a pinch-hit, RBI single off reliever Wesley Wright in the sixth inning to put the Cardinals back on top 6-5.
Luis Valbuena hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning as the Cubs regained the lead 7-6.
Wood, who struggled in his last outing against the Diamondbacks, got the starting nod for the Cubs. Joe Kelly (2-1, 2.84) starts for the Cardinals.
Wood dropped his fourth straight game against Arizona on July 19 and allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Manager Rick Renteria said the key for Wood will be "commanding, trying to keep the ball where he wants it to go. Keep the ball down and obviously just continue to take a good game plan into his outing and make pitches."
Entering this three-game series, the Cubs have dropped 13 of their previous 16 games
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