Local Sports

Despite a frustrating first two months of the season, Kyle Schwarber has focused on remaining upbeat.


Saturday was the highest of highs for the slumping slugger.


Schwarber hit his first career grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally the Chicago Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.


Schwarber, who entered batting .163 and was dropped to the ninth spot in the lineup, hit the first pitch of the at-bat from St. Louis starter Mike Leake (5-4) deep into the bleachers in left-center.

Javier Baez also homered for Chicago, which has won two straight following a six-game losing streak.


Yadier Molina homered and Jose Martinez had two RBIs for the Cardinals.


Hector Rondon (1-1) pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the win. Wade Davis got the final three outs for his 12th save.


Leake, who entered leading the National League with a 2.24 ERA, allowed five runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.


The Cardinals grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Cubs starter Jon Lester on a two-run broken bat single by Martinez.


Leake retired the first six batters before Baez led off the third with a long homer to straightaway center to trim the lead in half.


Molina got the run back in the sixth with a two-out solo shot to make it 3-1.


That's where it stayed until the bottom of the seventh. Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras each singled to put runners on first and third with one out. Leake then struck out Baez with a slider well off the plate and appeared on the verge of getting out of the jam.


But he hit pinch hitter Jon Jay with a pitch to load the bases. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny had left-hander Kevin Siegrist warming in the bullpen, but opted to stay with Leake against Schwarber, who had grounded out and struck out in his previous at-bats.


It worked out well for the Cubs. Any player hitting a slam to turn a game around would be excited - it was the first go-ahead slam in the seventh or later by the Cubs since 2012 - but Schwarber was especially pumped.

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