The St. Louis Cardinals extended their winning streak to 15 games in a row on Saturday, coming from behind to defeat the Chicago Cubs by a 8-5 final (box score). In addition to setting a new franchise record, the Cardinals padded their claim to having the longest winning streak in Major League Baseball this season.
The Cardinals' winning streak dates back to September 11, when they knocked off the Cincinnati Reds. Previously, the franchise record was just 14 games in length, set back in July 1935. (For those who don't remember watching that team, Dizzy Dean was its ace.)
The Cardinals took an early lead on Saturday, jumping ahead 1-0 in the second inning on the basis of a Harrison Bader home run. The Cubs rallied and took the lead in the third, plating two on a pair of RBI singles. A Tyler O'Neill home run tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning, but the Cubs again struck for two runs against veteran southpaw Jon Lester in their half of the frame.
The Cardinals trailed 4-2 heading into the seventh inning, and that's when they turned on the jets. Bader plated another run on a lucky single to left. Rookie Lars Nootbaar then tied the game with a single of his own. Paul DeJong, in the lineup in place of the injured Edmundo Sosa, promptly untied it with a sacrifice fly to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead.
The Cubs threatened again in the eighth, putting runners on the corners with no one out against T.J. McFarland. Yet McFarland was able to strike out a batter to set up a potential inning-ending double-play. The Cardinals did get that double play, but it wasn't of the standard variety: first baseman Paul Goldschmidt threw home to record one out and the Cardinals then engaged in a pair of rundowns before applying a tag to end the frame.
The Cardinals subsequently put the game out of range. Bader led off the ninth with a hustle double before stealing third and then scoring on a wild pitch. A few batters later, DeJong launched a two-run home-run to give the Cardinals a commanding 8-4 lead.
St. Louis' torrid run has left them five games up on any and all wild card threats, minimizing their chances of missing out. Indeed, SportsLine has the Cardinals making the playoffs in 99.9 percent of their simulations.