The ledges in Cubs Nation got a little less crowded late in Monday's doubleheader against the Cardinals, thanks to David Bote.
The Cubs infielder with the knack for big pinch-hit homers did it again to pull the Cubs out of their mid-August doldrums, hitting a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning of a seven-inning nightcap to earn a doubleheader split against the Cardinals with a 5-4 victory — snapping a near-panic-inducing four-game losing streak (looking at you, @thekapman).
"This is going to happen. You can't get frustrated," Bote said of the losing streak that came after the Cubs' best 16-game start in more than 100 years. "You can't get caught up in results. Even in a 60-game season, as much as it is a sprint, as much every game literally matters with great magnitude, you've really got to trust that we've been playing good baseball and not push the panic button, or start pressing, because that's how you start spiraling down."
The National League Central-leading Cubs improved to 14-7 with three to play in the next two days against the rival Cardinals.
Takeaways from the Cubs' first win since Thursday against the Brewers:
Bote in the pinch
Bote, who earned instant pinch-hit legend status with a walkoff grand slam against the Nationals two years ago, is now 13-for-37 (.351) in his career as a pinch-hitter with a .649 slugging percentage and 1.103 OPS.
"He's done that a time or two," teammate Anthony Rizzo said of Bote's big homer Monday night. "It's a spark, and it's energetic after a long day."
Cardinals DH Brad Miller, whose two-run double in the seventh was the game-winning hit in Game 1, hit a two-run homer in the second and first of back-to-back Cardinals solo shots in the fourth (also Max Schrock).
He drove in all but one of the Cardinals' runs in the doubleheader.
Miller’s tale II
Abruptly forced into a major-league starting debut because of injuries to Tyler Chatwood (IL, back tightness) and Adbert Alzolay (bruised forearm), right-hander Tyson Miller didn’t last long as the Cubs’ first pitcher to debut as a starter since Duane Underwood in 2018.
Miller needed 42 pitches to get through the short outing, mostly because of deep counts that led to three walks. One Cardinal who didn’t see many pitches: Brad Miller, whose first homer came on the only pitch he saw from Tyson Miller for the only hit the rookie allowed.
“The main thing that I would stress … is just continue to value the walk and taking a walk maybe when you’re not seeing the ball too well.” — Cubs manager David Ross about five hours before the Cubs drew three first-inning walks to load the bases, ahead of a two-out passed ball for the early lead.
Don’t mention it
Left unsaid by Ross before the doubleheader was anything about base running.
With the Cubs best hitter so far this season at the plate (Ian Happ), Kyle Schwarber tried to score all the way from second on the passed ball when Cards catcher Andrew Knizner had trouble finding the ball.
Schwarber was thrown out easily.
The Cubs and Cards play the middle game of a five-game set Tuesday night at 7:15. Cardinals RH Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1, 6.75) vs. Cubs RH Yu Darvish (3-1, 1.88).