Wainwright, Cardinals beat Cubs 3-0 on opening night

4 years 3 months 1 week ago Sunday, April 05 2015 Apr 5, 2015 Sunday, April 05, 2015 9:31:00 PM CDT April 05, 2015 in Baseball
By: The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) - The crowd roared for Joe Maddon, Jon Lester and the rest of the Chicago Cubs. There were more cheers for a tribute to Ernie Banks, and a hearty round of boos for the St. Louis Cardinals.

When the game started, it was the same ol' Cubbies. Same old Cardinals, too.

At least for one night.

Lester was chased in the fifth inning, and Adam Wainwright pitched the Cardinals to a 3-0 victory in the major league opener on Sunday.

"Just wasn't real sharp," Lester said. "Ball was flat. Anytime I get that many fly balls I know that I'm not where I need to be."

Jason Heyward had three hits in his St. Louis debut and Matt Holliday drove in two runs for the NL Central champions. Throw in Matt Carpenter's two hits at new-look Wrigley Field, and the top third of the Cardinals' lineup went 7 for 14 with three RBIs.

"Selfishly, I like the idea of hitting between those two," Heyward said. "Holly can do damage and Carp sees so many pitches and has good (at-bats). I'm going to be kind of spoiled hitting there."

Playing their most anticipated opener in years, the Cubs went 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position. Lester, who got a $155 million, six-year contract during free agency, allowed three runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings in his fifth straight opening day start.

"He just really hasn't had a chance to nail everything down yet, I don't think," Maddon said. "Of course, I believe he will."

The addition of Lester to go along with Maddon in the dugout increased the expectations for Chicago after five straight losing seasons. But it was more of the same in their first game.

The biggest difference for the home team was a giant videoboard in left field, part of a major renovation for the iconic neighborhood ballpark. The closed bleachers were covered by pictures of Banks, a Hall of Fame slugger who played for Chicago for 19 seasons and died in January at age 83.

The Cubs honored Banks with a pregame moment of silence, and his sons Jerry and Joey Banks each threw out a ceremonial first pitch. The club also extended its condolences to the Cardinals for Oscar Taveras, an outfield prospect who died in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic last October.

Heyward got the majors' first hit of the season when he doubled and scored on Holliday's single in the first. Holliday had another RBI single in the fifth.

It was more than enough for Wainwright, who was slowed by an abdominal injury early in spring training, but looked just fine in his fourth opening day start. The 6-foot-7 right-hander made the most of umpire Mike Winters' wide strike zone, striking out six with no walks. He gave up all five Cubs hits.

"I was fortunate to throw some good pitches when I needed to throw some good pitches," Wainwright said.

Carlos Martinez, who won the fifth starter job in training camp, then worked the seventh for St. Louis. Jordan Walden got three outs before Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side for the save.

The shutout was sure to have some Cubs fans clamoring for Kris Bryant, the power-hitting prospect who recently was sent to the minors for more seasoning.

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