CHICAGO — David Bote watched as his pinch-hit drive soared into the night. The rest of the Chicago Cubs started to celebrate as he rounded the bases.
There was only one thing missing — a roar from the crowd. Wrigley Field was empty once again.
“Something you miss, definitely,” Bote said. “But again, this is a good win.”
Bote hit a three-run homer in Chicago’s four-run sixth inning, and the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 on Monday night for a doubleheader split.
With two outs and runners on the corners, Bote put Chicago ahead to stay with a massive drive to center field off Tyler Webb (0-1) for his second career pinch-hit homer. Bote belted a game-ending grand slam for his first pinch-hit shot in a 4-3 win against Washington on Aug. 12, 2018.
Chicago was still searching for its first hit before Willson Contreras doubled home Javier Báez earlier in the inning, setting the stage for Bote’s third homer of the season.
“Webby is going to be fine,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. “Everybody has a day or two. It’s a hard game. He’ll be fine. We’ll run him back out there. He’s going to get a lot of big outs for us this year.”
St. Louis wasted a big performance by Brad Miller, who homered twice and drove in three runs. Miller also had a big swing in Game 1, hitting a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh in the Cardinals’ 3-1 victory.
Dexter Fowler connected for St. Louis in the opener of an unusual five-game series, and Max Schrock hit his first career homer in Game 2.
The NL Central-leading Cubs stopped a four-game slide. Duane Underwood Jr. (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, and Jeremy Jeffress got three outs for his second save.
“Underwood, I can’t overstate what he meant to us tonight and those innings he gave us,” manager David Ross said.
The Cardinals dropped to 3-2 since their return to play after a coronavirus outbreak put a pause on their season.
The second half of Monday’s doubleheader was the first time St. Louis batted second on the road since April 25, 1906, at Cincinnati, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It was the first time the Cubs hit first in their home ballpark since July 16, 1908, against the New York Giants, according to the team.
Miller’s two-run shot off Tyson Miller in the second was his first homer with St. Louis. Miller and Schrock hit consecutive drives in the fourth, giving the Cardinals a 4-1 lead.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martínez and INF Edmundo Sosa have been cleared to begin baseball activities. Sosa tested positive for the coronavirus, and Martínez was placed on the injured list for an unspecified reason. Manager Mike Shildt said the team has “multiple players” pending review by Major League Baseball, including C Yadier Molina and INF Paul DeJong. … LHP Austin Gomber “will be activated soon, with an eye toward” Wednesday’s doubleheader, Shildt said. Gomber has not tested positive for COVID-19, but he was placed on the injured list because of a potential concern in contact tracing.
Cubs: LHP José Quintana (thumb surgery) threw 61 pitches over four innings in a simulated game Sunday. Ross said the team is finalizing the day for Quintana’s next sim game. … RHP Adbert Alzolay was in the mix for Game 2 of the doubleheader before he took a ball off his forearm a few days ago at the team’s alternate training site in South Bend, Indiana. He could start one of the games in Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Right-handers Daniel Ponce de Leon and Yu Darvish pitch Tuesday night. Ponce de Leon (0-1, 6.75 ERA) started St. Louis’ last game before its coronavirus outbreak, allowing three runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 3-0 loss at Minnesota on July 29. Darvish (3-1, 1.88 ERA) is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.90 ERA in his last three starts for Chicago.