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Pederson, Happ, lead Hendricks, Cubs over Cardinals 12-3

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez, left, gets a new ball as Chicago Cubs' Joc Pederson rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Joc Pederson homered on the first pitch of the game, Ian Happ got two hits during an eight-run burst in the eighth inning and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 12-3 Friday night.

Pederson led off with a home run for the 22nd time in his career.

“He’s been a real sparkplug since he’s been back and manning the leadoff spot,” Chicago manager David Ross said. “His at-bats have been quality. He’s a professional hitter. That was a big swing to get us started and really fire up the dugout.”

Kyle Hendricks (4-4) pitched effectively into the seventh inning as the Cubs won in the first of 19 games between the NL Central rivals this season.

A crowd of 24,282, the largest this year at Busch Stadium, saw the division-leading Cardinals end their five-game home winning streak.

Nico Hoerner had two hits and scored three times for Chicago. Pederson, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and David Bote each drove in two runs.

Hendricks (4-4) allowed one earned run and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

“It feel really good being about to trust my stuff again,” said Hendricks, who got off to a slow start this season. “I appreciate everybody sticking with me. I want to be the guy my team can rely on. I want them to know what they’re going to get when I take the ball out there. Today was another step in the right direction. I made a lot of good pitches.”

Reliever Ryan Helsley (3-2) took the loss.

Hendricks gave way to Tommy Nance with two on and two outs after a fielding error by Rizzo at first base, and an RBI single by Dylan Carlson pulled the Cardinals within 4-3.

“I think we need Kyle historically who he’s been for us to win baseball games,” Ross said. “I think we trust that. Sometimes, I think guys with the track records don’t always get off to the best starts. I thought he threw the ball really well. We need that version of him throughout the season.”

The Cubs combined six hits and three walks to break away in the eighth. Happ, who had three hits, started the inning with a single and later added a double. Bote capped it with a two-run single.

“Listen, it was a 4-3 game going into the eighth,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. “It didn’t work out. It was a rough inning. ”

Cardinals starter Carlos Martínez pitched six innings, giving up two runs and hitting three batters. He was activated from the 10-day injured list earlier Friday after missing eight games with a sprained right ankle.

“I never lose my focus,” Martínez said. “I felt great today.”

GOLD STANDARD

Before the game, LF Tyler O’Neill and third baseman Nolan Arenado were awarded their 2020 NL Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. It was the eighth award for Arenado and the first for O’Neill.

BACK IN OLD ST. LOU

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2020 season was the first time since the Cardinals entered the National League in 1892 that the Cubs did not play a regular season game in St. Louis. The teams met for 10 games in the 2020 60-game regular season, with all 10 being played at Wrigley Field.

ROSTER MOVES

Cubs: Recalled LHP Brad Wieck from Triple-A Iowa. Wieck, 29, begins his third stint with the club this season as he has been with the Cubs on April 12-14 and May 11-14.

Cardinals: Optioned first baseman/pinch-hitter John Nogowski to Triple-A Memphis.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Placed LHP Justin Steele (right hamstring strain) on the injured list. Steele, 25, is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 11 relief appearances.

Cardinals: O’Neill (fractured middle finger) will begin swinging a bat again Saturday after he took part in fielding and base running activities on Friday. He hurt his finger sliding into a base during a game in San Diego.

UP NEXT

Chicago’s RHP Adbert Alzolay (2-3, 4.62) will face St. Louis RHP Miles Mikolas, who will be making his 2021 debut. Alzolay will make his third career start against the Cardinals and his first at Busch Stadium. Mikolas will be activated Saturday afternoon and will make his first start since the 2019 NL Championship Series.

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