CHICAGO — Same ol’ Cubbies. Same old Cardinals, too.
At least for one game.
Adam Wainwright threw six sharp innings to outpitch Jon Lester, and St. Louis handed new Chicago manager Joe Maddon a 3-0 loss Sunday night in the major league opener.
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.
Playing their most anticipated opener in years, the Cubs went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Lester was pulled with one out in the fifth inning on a chilly evening. The ace left-hander, who got a $155 million, six-year contract from Chicago during free agency, allowed three runs and eight hits in his fifth straight Opening Day start.
The addition of Lester and Maddon ramped up 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 Hall of Fame slugger Ernie Banks, 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 struck out six with no walks. He gave up all five Cubs hits.
Thumbnail photo via Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports Images