The Cubs lost 3-2 to the Cardinals on Thursday, dropping the four-game series while falling to 47-50 this season.
The Cubs, who came out of the All-Star break with back-to-back wins, have now lost four of their last five games. They're fourth in the NL Central, two games back of St. Louis.
Here are 10 observations from Thursday's loss.
1. A pair of early home runs put Adbert Alzolay and the Cubs in a 3-0 hole before the young right-hander bounced back to toss six innings. He allowed those three runs on four hits and three walks, retiring 10 of the final 12 batters he faced.
"I was able to make adjustments during the game, pitch by pitch," Alzolay said. "That was something that I wasn't able to do against the Dodgers."
Alzolay allowed six runs in three innings against Los Angeles June 27, giving up a pair of home runs.
"This time around, I was able to make that adjustment quicker and kept the team in the game for six innings," he said.
2. Thursday marked Alzolay’s second start of six-plus innings in his last nine outings. He struck out eight, tied for a career high.
"As soon as I found my rhythm today, everything was working perfect," Alzolay said of his repertoire. "I found the command of my sinker late in the game in moments that I needed it."
3. Alzolay has given up two home runs in five of his last six starts and has surrendered 20 this season — tied for fourth-most in MLB with Kyle Hendricks.
4. A near-home run helped start a Cubs rally in the fourth. Patrick Wisdom just missed hitting a solo blast down the left field line. He walked instead, Javy Báez singled, and both scored on a Jake Marisnick double.
5. Other than those two runs, Kwang Hyun Kim kept the Cubs offense at bay for the second time in two weeks. He tossed six innings of two-hit ball, following his six shutout innings at Wrigley Field on July 10.
6. Kris Bryant pinch hit in the eighth, his first game action since leaving Tuesday’s game with right hamstring fatigue. He drew a six-pitch walk, and Jason Heyward pinch ran for him. Bryant is expected to be back in the starting lineup Friday.
7. In a scary moment, Dillon Maples’ 1-0 fastball in the seventh hit Edmundo Sosa in the head, one pitch after another misfire sailed behind the Cardinals shortstop. The Cardinals medical staff tended to Sosa for a few minutes. He remained in the game.
8. The Cubs won’t miss seeing Harrison Bader after his play this series. The Cardinals center fielder made another great defensive play, robbing Nico Hoerner of a two-out single that would have put the tying run at third in the seventh. He also robbed Willson Contreras of a two-run home run Wednesday. Oh, and he tallied seven hits in the four games.
9. It wasn’t the first time we saw it, but it was just as jaw-dropping. Báez pulled off another no-look tag, on a great throw by Willson Contreras, to nab Tommy Edman on a stolen base attempt in the second.
10. Rafael Ortega has earned increased playing time this month behind a hot bat and added another hit Thursday — the eighth time in his last 11 games he’s registered a hit. Ortega is batting .393 (11-for-28) in July.
On deck: The Cubs welcome the Diamondbacks to Wrigley Friday for a three-game series. First pitch is 1:20 p.m. Zach Davies (5-6, 4.35 ERA) and Zac Gallen (1-4, 3.86 ERA) are the probable starters.