ST. LOUIS -- Chris Rusin still remembers the first time he outdueled Lance Lynn on the pitching mound, but it was the second time they met -- Friday night -- which became historically more significant.
Rusin became the first Cubs left-hander since Ken Holtzman in 1979 to pitch six or more shutout innings in a game at St. Louis in earning his second win of the season, 3-0 over Lynn and the Cardinals.
With help from four relievers combining to get the final nine outs, Rusin and the Cubs also posted their first shutout over the Cardinals in St. Louis since June 23, 1997.
"I'm surprised," Rusin said of that history. "I didn't really know anything about that. But it's great that our team could do it and we've just got to keep rolling from here."
Rusin does know about the personal history between himself and Lynn, the Cardinals' starter on this night and the starter for Mississippi when Rusin was pitching for Kentucky on May 15, 2008 in an SEC matchup in Lexington.
"I didn't hit off him, and it was a while back," Rusin said. "I remember seeing that guy. I was telling our pitching coach all about it. It's fun going out there and seeing old college opponents."
Rusin got the win that day too, even though he was not nearly as sharp as he was against the Cardinals. He worked 6 2/3 innings allowing nine hits and three runs, two earned, in a game Kentucky won 12-4.
Lynn, perhaps because of the fact he allowed eight runs in only 3 1/3 innings, did not remember the first time he faced Rusin.
"In college we don't hit, so I didn't pay any attention to the other pitcher," Lynn said.
The Cubs are paying a lot of attention to Rusin, who scattered seven hits over his six innings, stranding two runners at third base and two at second. It was the second time in his last three starts that Rusin has pitched at least six shutout innings. He had seven scoreless against the Giants on July 27 in a 1-0 win.
"He's pitching really, really well," said manager Dale Sveum. "He got a nice double play ball. The thing with him is when he throws strikes. His ball moves so much that he can get some swings and misses on balls that are a ways out of the zone. He keeps the ball down. He did a great job again. He made the pitches when he had to."
Rusin said he was happy with how he was able to pitch ahead in the count.
"That's what helped me out," he said. "I didn't get hurt by the heart of the Cardinals lineup. They got a couple singles, but no home runs. I got away with one to (Allen) Craig. I don't know how it didn't go out. I didn't make any other big mistakes.
"I wanted to get strike one and work off that because I'm not an overpowering guy. If I fall behind in the count I'm going to be in trouble because I don’t have a fastball to beat them."
Rusin understands that he is pitching not only for now, but to hopefully also stake a claim on a possible job in next year's rotation. That is something he is trying to avoid thinking about, however.
"I don't think too much about that, just take it game by game and go out and do what I can do," Rusin said. "I just try to give our team a chance to win. You can put a lot of pressure on yourself. It's hard, but I try to just block it all out and concentrate on the game I'm pitching that day and go from there."