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Cardinals one-hit Cubs, regain control of NL Central

By
Alex Butler
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty had a no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning before it was broken up by the Chicago Cubs' Nick Castellanos Thursday in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty had a no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning before it was broken up by the Chicago Cubs' Nick Castellanos Thursday in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The St. Louis Cardinals snatched back first place in the National League Central by shutting out the Chicago Cubs in the final game of a division series in St. Louis.

St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty propelled the victory in a dominant mound showing, allowing just one hit and throwing nine strikeouts in seven scoreless innings Thursday at Busch Stadium. He also carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong and shortstop Paul DeJong each went 3-for-4 in the 8-0 victory.

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"I think Jack just continues to grow his craft," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt told reporters. "I appreciate the way Jack is -- I used the term before the game, and it was evident during the game -- Jack's just in control. He's got a clarity to what he's doing."

Cubs starter Jon Lester allowed nine hits and five runs in five innings to take his seventh loss of the season. Right fielder Nick Castellanos recorded Chicago's lone hit with a sixth-inning single off Flaherty.

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Jose Martinez sparked the scoring with an RBI single in the first frame. Wong brought in DeJong on another RBI single in the fourth inning. Yairo Munoz made the score 3-0 with an RBI single in the sixth frame, before Matt Wieters clubbed a three-run homer in the same inning. The 372-foot opposite-field bomb had an exit velocity of 99 mph and left the field in 5.2 seconds, according to Statcast.

Munoz collected another RBI with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. Rangel Ravelo brought in the Cardinals' final run by grounding into a double play in the eighth inning, plating Lane Thomas in the process.

Wieters was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, two strikeouts and a run scored in the win. Munoz was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a run scored and a strikeout for St. Louis.

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The Cardinals (58-50) battle the Oakland Athletics at 9:07 p.m. EDT Saturday at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland. The Cubs (57-51) host the Milwaukee Brewers in another division clash at 2:20 p.m. EDT Friday at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

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