Chicago Cubs run out 9-1 winners against fierce rivals St Louis Cardinals in London with 55,000 fans watching on at West Ham’s stadium
- London was a good luck charm for Chicago Cubs against St Louis Cardinals
- They recorded an emphatic victory against their big rival at London Stadium
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The Chicago Cubs claimed bragging rights on foreign soil over fierce rivals the St Louis Cardinals with a commanding 9-1 victory in game one of the 2023 London Series.
This was MLB’s second trip across the pond after the New York Yankees swept a two-game set here against the Boston Red Sox in 2019, and the first of the Cubs and Cardinals’ 2,495 meetings in 140 years of play to occur outside of the US.
Among the festivities put on for the 54,662-strong London crowd was a mascot race that saw Henry VIII pip Winston Churchill to the finish line just ahead of Freddie Mercury, Ashes cricket stars Jimmy Anderson and Nathan Lyon throwing out the ceremonial first pitches and actor Nick Offerman singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame in the seventh-inning stretch.
The Yankees-Red Sox games in 2019 were slugfests with New York running out 17-13 and 12-8 winners, and even with the walls seven feet further back this time Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, playing in his 18th and final season before he retires, was given a taste of that offensive environment as he gave up 11 hits in three-plus innings.
Switch-hitting outfielder Ian Happ took Wainwright to center and right field in his first two at-bats outside of North America as part of the Cubs’ seven-run outburst against the 41-year-old right-hander.
Chicago Cubs beat St Louis Cardinals 9-1 at the London Stadium on Saturday afternoon
There were just under 55,000 fans in attendance at West Ham’s Premier League stadium
But the soccer field had been converted into a baseball field with MLB heading to town
Dansby Swanson celebrates with Trey Mancini after hitting a home run for the Cubs
Happ was Wainwright’s chief tormentor again, making it six home runs against him and overtaking Cincinnati’s Joey Votto for the most of any player off the St Louis pitcher.
Nick Madrigal, Christopher Morel, Yan Gomes, Mike Tauchman and Seiya Suzuki all added RBI hits as the Cubs knocked Wainwright out of the game with just nine outs under his belt.
His opposing starting pitcher Justin Steele kept the Cardinals’ bats quiet until the fifth inning, when rookie Jordan Walker finally punched the Redbirds’ first base hit of the day past diving shortstop Dansby Swanson.
In the sixth inning the Cardinals awoke, reeling off three straight hits to begin the inning including Paul Goldschmidt – the first MLB player to play in five different countries – knocking in Tommy Edman with an RBI single.
But with runners on second and third, Steele worked out of the jam by striking out Dylan Carlson looking with his 89th and final pitch of the day to conclude six innings of one-run ball, with eight strikeouts.
And in the top of the ninth inning, the Cubs’ $177m shortstop Dansby Swanson launched a two-run home run off Cardinals reliever Drew VerHagen to complete the rout – Chicago’s biggest over their rivals since May 2021.
The first London game in 2019 had run on for four hours and 42 minutes, just three minutes short of the longest nine-inning game in MLB history, but with the pitch clock in action this year this contest zipped by in two hours, 40 minutes.
Victory makes it four in a row for the Cubs to take them to 37-38 on the season, 6.5 games ahead of the Cardinals who are now 31-45.