ST. LOUIS -- That escalated quickly.
Sort of like the Cubs just might.
The Cardinals' longtime rival, the only team in the National League Central who hasn't been a part of the playoff race this season, showcased their future and how powerful it might be with a 7-2 thumping of the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday. Rookie Jorge Soler hit two of the Cubs four home runs, and new additions to the Cubs roster had six of the seven RBIs.
The Cardinals took a two-run lead in the first inning when they turned three singles and a walk into their only scoring rally of the game.
That is how the Cardinals have survived this season, by linking hits and walks and whatever bases they're allowed together into these labor-intensive rallies. They have lacked for power and thus it takes them several swings to do what the Cubs did with only one or two on Friday night.
The Cubs tied the game with Soler's first homer in the top of the seventh inning. Two innings later they had to more homers, five more runs, and a veritable rout on their hands.
Javier Baez, just up from Class AAA Iowa, snapped the 2-2 tie with a two-run double in the top of the eighth inning off setup man Pat Neshek. Soloer followed with a 442-foot homer that put the Cubs further ahead. In the ninth inning, Arismendy Alcantara popped his sixth homer of the season with a leadoff shot off Nick Greenwood.
In his return to the lineup after seven weeks on the disabled list, Yadier Molina went zero-for-three at the plate and was hit by a pitch.
He played the entire game behind the plate.
The Cubs have gone through a rebuilding process that has centered around acquiring talent on the position player side. And while the organization does not have the pitching talent to fuel a contender, it does have a bushel of power prospects coming up. The Cubs hit four homers and their team leader Anthony Rizzo, who has 30 homers, didn't take a step out of the dugout in the game. The Cubs' minor-league leader in homers hasn't arrived in the majors yet. And yet this next month could be a harbinger of the future ahead for the Cubs as they speed toward contention.
Like the ambush the Cubs hatched on the Cardinals late in Friday's game, their arrival as a threat in the division could be quicker than anticipated.
Shelby Miller did not receive a decision in the game after holding the Cubs to two runs on four hits and two walks.
Both of the runs he allowed -- get this -- came on homers.
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