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Hot-hitting Bellinger homers again as Chicago Cubs beat St. Louis Cardinals 7-2 to take series

CHICAGO (AP) — Cody Bellinger homered and drove in three runs, Jameson Taillon pitched into the sixth inning and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-2 on Sunday.

Dansby Swanson had two hits and Yan Gomes drove in two runs as Chicago closed out a 6-4 homestand. The Cubs won the last three games of their four-game set against the Cardinals.

Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third. Continuing his hot stretch, the 2019 NL MVP is batting .381 (43 for 113) with 24 RBIs in 31 games since returning from a bruised knee on June 15.

“Bellinger's been kind of like the heart and soul of our team and playing great defense,” Taillon said. “Seem like he's always got a big hit. He's got great energy.”

The 28-year-old Bellinger hit .210 last year in his final season with the Dodgers. The two-time All-Star finalized a $17.5 million, one-year contract with Chicago in December.

Bellinger is batting .319 with 14 homers and 44 RBIs in 68 games for the Cubs, but he isn't interested in any declaration that he has re-established himself as one of the game's best hitters.

“No, definitely not,” Bellinger said. "I'm feeling good, but there's a lot of baseball left to be played.

“Obviously can roll from this ... but there's a lot more at-bats to go and compete.”

Nolan Arenado had three hits and Dylan Carlson had a pair of RBI singles for the disappointing Cardinals, who could be one of baseball's most active sellers ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

Jordan Montgomery (6-8) allowed seven runs, five earned, and six hits in six innings in his first loss since June 3. He went 4-0 with a 1.47 ERA over his previous seven starts.

Montgomery committed a costly two-out error in the first, dropping Ian Happ's soft comebacker. Bellinger then connected for his 14th homer, a 403-foot shot to the basket in center.

The Cubs broke it open with five runs in the third. Swanson singled in Seiya Suzuki, and consecutive doubles by Gomes and Trey Mancini plated three more runs.

“Monty, that one inning got him,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. "The error followed by the homer was a big part of the game, too.

“He had a little bit more trouble today finishing off guys today once he got them to two strikes.”

Taillon (4-6) was charged with one run and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.

The right-hander has been solid in three straight starts — including an eight-inning outing against the Yankees — after sliding to 2-6.

“I definitely feel like a closer version of myself right now,” Taillon said. “I was out there kind of just faking it, trying to take the ball every fifth day and see if I can find something to gain some traction.”


Taylor Motter started at second base for St. Louis after he was brought up from Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals optioned infielder José Fermin and released right-hander Jake Walsh.


Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright is expected to come off the injured list to start Monday at Arizona. The 41-year-old Wainwright was placed on the 15-day IL on July 5 because of shoulder irritation.


St. Louis: INF Nolan Gorman (lower back) got the day off. ... INF/OF Tommy Edman (right wrist inflammation) is ready to progress from hitting off a tee, Marmol said. The utilityman had been feeling pain in the wrist when swinging a bat.

Cubs: RHP Brad Boxberger (right forearm strain) is expected to start throwing bullpen sessions this week. … LHP Brandon Hughes (right knee inflammation) is playing catch.


Cardinals: Wainwright (3-4, 7.66 ERA) faces RHP Ryne Nelson (6-5, 4.82 ERA) at Arizona on Monday.

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 3.38 ERA) takes the mound against White Sox RHP Michael Kopech (4-8, 4.29 ERA) on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.


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