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Cubs pound out 20 hits in 17-5 rout of Cards

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 12 2014 10:33:24 PM MDT
Updated On: May 12 2014 10:57:00 PM MDT
Baseballs, sports, MLB
ST. LOUIS -

Despite his team's National League-worst 12-24 record entering Monday night's game and his .239 average at game time, Chicago Cubs left fielder Junior Lake was in a good frame of mind.

"We come in positive every day," he said.

This time, there was reason to feel that way.

Lake knocked in a career-high six runs and Chicago set season highs for hits and runs in a 17-5 pounding of the St. Louis Cardinals at sold-out Busch Stadium.

Center fielder Emilio Bonifacio became the first Cub since Jody Davis in 1987 to score five runs in a game, and he banged out four of the team's 20 hits. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro tacked on three RBIs apiece.

Even second baseman Darwin Barney, who entered the evening hitting a measly .153, joined the fun with three hits, two runs and an RBI.

All this from an Chicago team that managed only four runs while getting swept over the weekend at Atlanta. The Cubs began play Monday night averaging 3.7 runs per game.

"We started early and kept chipping away," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "We worked our at-bats and got pitches we could handle. Our situational hitting today took a step up. We did a nice job of capitalizing on opportunities."

The Cubs hit for the cycle in the game's first five batters while grabbing a 4-0 advantage, capping it with a two-run homer from third baseman Mike Olt, his eighth of the season.

Lake rifled a three-run shot to left in the second for a 7-0 lead, and Chicago added two more runs in the fourth off starter Tyler Lyons (0-3). After pitching to a respectable 3.43 ERA in his first five outings, including three starts, Lyons was torched for nine hits and nine runs in four long innings.

"I felt really good the first two innings, better than I felt the last two," he said. "I put some balls on the corners, but I got some up a bit and they made me pay for them. The results just weren't there."

St. Louis (19-20), which finished a grueling stretch of 26 road games in its first 38 contests with a 6-5 win late Sunday night in Pittsburgh, started a 10-game homestand with an emphatic thud.

Catcher Yadier Molina supplied a couple of hits and an RBI, plus a surprise steal of third when Chicago starter Travis Wood was caught unaware. However, the Cardinals' only other highlight might have come when utility man Daniel Descalso relieved Randy Choate at the end of a six-run ninth inning and retired Olt on a second-pitch fly ball.

"It was an interesting thing," Olt said of facing a position player. "You never know what's going to happen. It's what makes baseball such fun."

Wood (3-4) picked up his second win of the month over the Cardinals despite allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits over six innings. He walked three, whiffed four and hit two batters.

However, with an offense inflicting the team's biggest pounding of St. Louis pitching since a 19-4 shellacking 40 years ago, Wood had plenty of room for error.

"It's what we needed," Lake said. "Everyone made adjustments."

NOTES: St. Louis RHP Joe Kelly played long toss in the outfield Monday, but he is still behind schedule in his rehab of a hamstring injury that occurred in mid-April. It is not known when Kelly will be able to start a rehab assignment. ... Chicago starting pitchers have notched 21 quality starts (six innings, three earned runs or fewer) in 37 games, but the team is only 7-14 in those contests. ... Cardinals LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder) made a rehab start for Triple-A Memphis on Monday night against Round Rock. Garcia threw 74 pitches over five innings, allowing three hits and two runs while walking two and fanning five.