CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Chicago Cubs blasted a Major League Baseball post-season record of six home runs in an 8-6 win on Monday as they pushed the St. Louis Cardinals to the brink of elimination in their National League Division Series.
Seeking to end a 107-year wait for a World Series title, the Cubs electrified their home crowd at Wrigley Field in Game Three as Kyle Schwarber, Starlin Castro, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler and Dexter Fowler all clubbed homers.
Fowler hit the Cubs’ sixth homer of the game, over right field in the bottom of the eighth, to set the record and put Chicago ahead 8-4 before Stephen Piscotty followed suit for St. Louis in the top of the ninth to cut the deficit.
With Piscotty and Jason Heyward both connecting for the Cardinals, the combined total of eight home runs also set a Major League mark for one post-season game.
The Cubs’ win over the top-seeded Cardinals made it 2-1 in the best-of five series that remains in Chicago for a possible clincher in Game Four on Tuesday.
“We are definitely capable of that,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of his team’s impressive display of hitting power in windy conditions at Wrigley Field.
“The support was there. Our players responded. You had to be pretty much entertained if you’re a baseball fan.”
Maddon felt his team had become energized following their 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates last week in the wild card game.
”Coming into the post-season, I thought our guys were really fresh,“ he said. ”Once you win that (the wild card game) it permits you to exhale a bit.
“I don’t mean that in a negative way but in a positive way because that’s really the most intense moment outside of a Game Seven of maybe the World Series. I just think our guys have handled this properly.”
Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, who was 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA in the regular season, allowed four runs in 5-2/3 innings.
Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha took the loss after giving up four runs in 4-1/3 innings.
Schwarber set the tone for the Cubs when he homered to left center in the bottom of the second, before the Cardinals edged ahead 2-1.
After Castro had tied it at 2-2, rookie Bryant launched a two-run homer off Wacha in the bottom of the fifth before Rizzo hit his homer to put the Cubs 5-2 up.
“It’s just what we do,” said first baseman Rizzo.
”With the wind blowing out here at Wrigley, get the ball in the air and guys put really good swings on the ball.
”We had good at-bats early off Wacha who pitched well ... we just kept grinding, guys put together some nice at-bats, hit the ball over the fence.
“We know what it’s like when the wind is blowing out here. We took advantage of that today.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury