CHICAGO (AP) – Make it a very sweet 16 for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Andrew Knizner scored the go-ahead run on Codi Heuer’s wild pitch in the ninth inning, and the Cardinals beat the lowly Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Sunday for their 16th straight victory.
The Cardinals’ franchise-record streak is the longest in the majors since Cleveland took 22 in a row in 2017, and the best in the National League since the New York Giants won 16 straight in 1951 on their way to an improbable pennant.
Paul Goldschmidt and Harrison Bader homered to extend a streak that has rocketed the Cardinals into position for the second NL wild card, leading Philadelphia and Cincinnati by six games with six to go.
Next up is a three-game series against NL Central champion Milwaukee beginning on Tuesday night in St. Louis.
Knizner drew a leadoff walk in the ninth. With one out and the bases loaded, Heuer (7-4) bounced a pitch to Tyler O’Neill that got past catcher Willson Contreras, bringing Knizner home.
Heuer then mishandled O’Neill’s comebacker and Lars Nootbaar scampered home, giving the Cardinals a 4-2 lead.
Chicago dropped its sixth straight game. The fourth-place Cubs (67-89) went 39-42 at Wrigley Field this year.
Bader’s 15th homer of the season tied it at 2 with two outs in the eighth. The Cardinals connected for a franchise-record 13 homers in the four-game series at Wrigley Field.
Génesis Cabrera (4-5) got two outs for the win, and Giovanny Gallegos worked the ninth for his 14th save.
It looked as if St. Louis had won when third baseman Nolan Arenado slipped while trying to catch Frank Schwindel’s popup with runners on first and second and one out in the ninth. The ball dropped and Arenado threw to third, but the runners advanced safely because the infield fly rule was called.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt ran out on the field to argue and was ejected. After order was restored, Cabrera struck out Ian Happ swinging for the final out.
The Cardinals joined the 1887 Philadelphia Quakers as the only teams in major league history to win their final 11 or more road games in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
St. Louis jumped in front on another Goldschmidt drive, a massive solo shot to center off Keegan Thompson with one out in the third. The 31st homer for the six-time All-Star traveled an estimated 464 feet.
Goldschmidt, who also started a slick double play in the third, is batting .500 (12 for 24) with five homers and 10 RBIs in his last six games.
The Cubs responded with two in the fourth against Jake Woodford. Sergio Alcántara drove in Contreras with a ground-rule double down the left-field line, and David Bote followed with a sacrifice fly.
Woodford allowed six hits and walked two, continuing a solid stretch. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA in five appearances in September.
Cardinals: SS Edmundo Sosa (right hand/wrist) was held out for the third straight game. He was hit by a pitch in the opener of Friday’s doubleheader sweep. “Day to day, but he’s healing and better today than yesterday,” Shildt said.
Cubs: INF Nico Hoerner (general soreness) missed his second straight game. With an off day on Monday, manager David Ross said it made sense to give him another day. … 3B Patrick Wisdom was out of the starting lineup because of right wrist soreness, stemming from a check swing during Saturday’s 8-5 loss. … Ross said OF Jason Heyward (concussion) will travel with the team to Pittsburgh for its series against the Pirates.
Cardinals: Following an off day, RHP Adam Wainwright (16-7, 3.05 ERA) starts the series opener against Milwaukee. RHP Brandon Woodruff (9-10, 2.52 ERA) takes the mound for the Brewers.