CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Hendricks went eight innings in another strong start, Kris Bryant homered and the Chicago Cubs moved closer to the NL Central championship and dealt another hit to St. Louis playoff hopes, beating the Cardinals 8-4 on Friday.
The Cubs came into the final weekend of the regular season with a franchise-record fourth straight trip to the postseason assured and their third division title in a row in sight. They began the day with a one-game lead over Milwaukee, with the Brewers playing Detroit on Friday night.
Hendricks (14-11) gave up two runs and seven hits. Hes 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA in his past seven outings.
Bryant made it 3-0 with a long solo drive to center against Adam Wainwright (2-4) for just his second homer in 27 games. The 2016 NL MVP sat out the previous two because of a bruised left wrist and has two stints on the disabled list this season because of left shoulder inflammation.
Daniel Murphy had two hits, two runs and an RBI. He singled and scored in a two-run first, doubled and came around in the fifth, and added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jose Berrios became the first Minnesota pitcher in eight years to reach 200 strikeouts, throwing seven smooth innings against Chicago in the first game of a doubleheader.
Berrios finished his All-Star season with a career-best 3.84 ERA and 202 strikeouts. The last time a Twins pitcher topped that milestone was Francisco Liriano (201) in 2010, with Johan Santana (235) in 2007 the most recent prior to that.
Berrios (12-11) struck out nine batters, allowing just three hits and one run on Leury Garcias RBI single in the third. Berrios walked four, including Avisail Garcia to lead off the sixth, but he followed that by fanning Daniel Palka, Matt Davidson and Omar Narvarez in a 10-pitch span.
Joe Mauer, playing possibly the final games of his career with an expiring contract and a pending decision about whether or not to retire at age 35, had two singles and is hitting .352 (19 for 54) over his last 14 starts while reaching base at least once in each.
Reynaldo Lopez (7-10) took the loss.