Lance Lynn had trouble with plate umpire Dan Bellino and the Chicago Cubs.
Starlin Castro matched his career high with six RBIs, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the fifth and a three-run drive in the sixth to lead the Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals 8-3 Friday for their fourth straight win.
Lynn lasted 3 1/3 innings and threw 83 pitches, allowing three runs, four hits and six walks. He is 0-2 with a 9.26 ERA in his last three starts, giving up 12 runs, 15 hits and 11 walks in 11 2/3 innings.
Lynn attributed Friday's difficulties to Bellino's tight strike zone on his pitches.
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"We disagreed," Lynn said. "The low call wasn't my way, the high call wasn't my way. The low call was his way, the high call was his way, so it was tough."
In four starts against the Cubs this season, Lynn is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA.
"They seem to be swinging the bat against everybody right now so they may have found something against everybody it seems like," he said.
Castro went 3 for 3 with a walk in the third multihomer game of his career. He put the Cubs ahead 5-3 in the fifth with his drive off Seth Maness (4-2), then connected off Steve Cishek in the sixth for his 10th homer this season. Castro also had six RBIs in his major league debut against Cincinnati on May 7, 2010.
Chicago began the day two games behind Pittsburgh for the NL's top wild-card berth. The Cubs closed within six games of the NL Central-leading Cardinals.
Tommy Hunter (2-0), the second Chicago reliever, got one out in the fifth, and Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Fernando Rodney and Neil Ramirez combined for four scoreless innings of two-hit relief.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and a trainer went to the mound to speak with Lynn with one out in the fourth. Lynn walked Dexter Fowler and was replaced by Tyler Lyons. Lynn said the issue was minor as he got "caught on the mound."
Matheny said Lynn's struggles stemmed from problems with control.
"There is a not real secret what his style is. He comes right at guys, but when you do that you have to have fine control, " Matheny said. "The velocity looks right. The movement looks right, and the location is not. With his style of pitching, he is going to have a tough time if he is not locating his fastball."
Chicago starter Dan Haren gave up three runs — one earned — and three walks in 4 1/3 innings.
Matheny and Matt Belisle, the sixth St. Louis reliever, were ejected in the seventh after Belisle hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch.
"I can't control that," Belisle said. "Obviously there was a warning, but I had to try to pitch in, so what can you do?"
Cubs manager Joe Maddon took exception to Belisle's actions.
"I'm really disappointed in what the Cardinals did right there. We did not hit their guy on purpose at all. That was an absolute mistake There was not malicious intent on Dan Haren's part. So to become this vigilante group that all off a sudden wants to get their own pound of flesh, that's absolutely insane, ridiculous and wrong. And furthermore, we won't start stuff, but we will end stuff. That's' their call. That was their moment there," said Maddon.
Bellino had issued a warning after St. Louis pinch hitter Matt Holliday was struck on the back of the helmet by a pitch from Haren in the fifth. After walking to first, Holliday was replaced by pinch-runner Pete Kozma.
Matheny said Holliday sustained a minor bruise and was not experiencing any symptoms of a concussion.
Holliday was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday after missing 41 games with a right quadriceps strain. In his only previous plate appearance since his return, he struck out Thursday in Milwaukee.
Cardinals: Matheny held C Yadier Molina out of the starting lineup for a second straight day to give him rest.
Cubs: Rookie Kris Bryant didn't start despite having six hits, including four doubles, in the previous two games. He grounded out as a pinch hitter in the sixth and stayed in the game at third base.
St. Louis walked at least 11 batters in a game for the second time this season. The last time it happened was in an 18-inning loss to the Mets on July 18 where they issued 13 walks.
Ace RHP Michael Wacha (16-5, 2.96) will start for St. Louis on Saturday. Travis Wood (5-4) is the scheduled starter for the Cubs.