CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Swarmer earned his first big league win and Frank Schwindel homered in a three-hit showing to lead the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader.
Swarmer (1-0) allowed two hits and one earned run in six innings, striking out six and walking two. The right-hander made his first start Monday, getting a no-decision while giving up one earned run in six innings against Milwaukee.
Swarmer helped snap Paul Goldschmidt’s 25-game hitting streak. The Cardinals star went 0 for 2 with a strikeout, a groundout and two walks, and fell one game short of the longest hitting streak in his career.
Drafted in the 19th round in 2016 out of Kutztown University, the 28-year-old Swarmer stifled St. Louis’ bats with firm control of his fastball and slider. With his father, sister and agent in attendance, he retired nine straight batters between the second and fourth innings.
“I’m just locked into the glove,” Swarmer said. “I was going off (catcher) Willson Contreras’ (calls) and then not trying to think about the hitters as much. I know (St. Louis) has some big-name guys. It’s definitely hard. You’re like, ‘Wow, he’s actually in the box with me.’”
Swarmer is the first Cub pitcher since Gene Lillard (1939) to start his big league career by allowing one run or fewer in consecutive starts of at least six innings.
Schwindel hit his eighth homer, connecting against Johan Oviedo for a drive that nearly cleared the bleachers in left-center field for a 2-0 lead in the fifth.
Rafael Ortega hit an RBI double later in the inning.
Schwindel added two more hits, including an RBI single in the sixth that extended Chicago’s lead to 5-1. He is batting .298 since May 11 and leads Chicago with six homers and 20 RBIs in the stretch.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols played in his 3,000th major league appearance after Corey Dickerson left the game early with left calf discomfort. Pujols went 0 for 3 with a walk.
The only other active player with at least 2,500 major league appearances is Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Swarmer tried not to let the occasion get to his head.
“I always watched those guys on TV,” Swarmer said. “Now, to have a chance to face them, it’s really special in that moment. I have to soak it all in.”
Chicago manager David Ross liked what he saw from Swarmer in his first week as a major leaguer.
“Very impressive, never really in trouble,” Ross said. “I don’t know the stat, but it felt like maybe one guy got on second. It wasn’t many. Had both the slider and fastball working up and out.”
Cubs rookie Christopher Morel had the first three-hit game of his career. He has reached base in all 18 of his major league games.
The Cubs have won four of five. They’re playing their second doubleheader in a six-day span.
Oviedo (0-1) allowed three earned runs in five innings in his first big league start this season. He dropped to 0-9 in his career as a major league starter.
“When it’s in the zone, we saw what he was capable of doing,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “He was able to settle down a little bit and give us a chance. In the zone, his stuff plays. It’s a matter of the consistency of that.”
Tommy Edman homered in the sixth for St. Louis.
Scott Effross escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh by fanning Edman with a called strike.
Marmol was ejected for the first time in his career after arguing Edman’s case with plate umpire Bruce Dreckman. Marmol appeared to mimic the ejection motion toward Dreckman during a heated exchange at the plate.
“Bases loaded there, that changes the game,” Marmol said. “It’s a big part of that game. We weren’t happy with it, I expressed my thoughts on the field and we’ll move on.”
Chicago called up RHP Caleb Kilian from Triple-A Iowa on Saturday morning and optioned RHP Mark Leiter Jr. there in his place.
Kilian, acquired in last summer’s Kris Bryant trade, is expected to make his major league debut in the second leg of the doubleheader on Saturday night.
Ross didn’t want to set expectations too high for his organization’s top prospect.
“You try not to hype it up too much,” Ross said. “I don’t think any one player is ever like the savior, right? We put these labels on young men. He’ll come up, he’ll make the start and we’ll see how it goes.”
If the 25-year-old settles in quickly, he could factor into Chicago’s pitching staff this year. Kilian went 2-0 with a 2.06 ERA in nine starts with Iowa.
“It’s exciting from his standpoint, hard work, coming over,” Ross said. “He’s been impressive in a lot of ways, but still, you’ve got to make your major league career and come up, and no one knows how it’s going to go. But I’m happy for him. All the work has paid off.”
Cardinals: LHP Zack Thompson was called up from Triple-A Memphis. LHP Matthew Liberatore and RHP Kodi Whitley were both optioned to Memphis on Friday night. The Cardinals designated Memphis infielder Kramer Robertson for assignment to open a roster spot for Thompson. … OF Tyler O’Neill (shoulder impingement) will head to Memphis for a rehabilitation assignment. OF Dylan Carlson is going to Double-A Springfield as he works back from a left hamstring strain that has kept him out since May 22.
Cubs: LHP Conner Menez was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Kilian. RHP Anderson Espinoza was added to the roster as the temporary 27th man for the night game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Espinoza gave up two earned runs in four innings during his major league debut on Monday against the Brewers.
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