However, both teams are making a run at the postseason this year, intensifying this series.
The Cubs hope keep pace in the highly contested NL Central as they host the Cardinals in the fourth game of their five-game series at Wrigley Field.
The teams split Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader, as the Cubs took the opener 4-2 on Sammy Sosa’s two-run homer in the 15th inning, while Matt Morris gave up five hits in seven innings of the Cardinals’ 2-0 win in the night game.
Jim Edmonds homered in each game as St. Louis maintained its 1 1/2 -game lead over the Cubs in the NL Central. Houston lost at Los Angeles, falling a half-game behind St. Louis.
Sosa didn’t start the second game after his late heroics in the first game.
“My goodness. I think it was one of the longest games we’ve played,” Sosa said after hitting his 32nd homer.
“After you play 15 innings, I don’t think you have any energy left,” Sosa said. “But that was a big one for the team. We played so hard to be where we are.”
Danny Haren, the latest in a string of young St. Louis pitchers, is hoping to turn around his recent performance.
The rookie right-hander is coming off his worst effort of the season, as he allowed six runs and six hits over 5 2-3 inning of a 8-5 loss at Cincinnati on Friday night. Haren is winless in his last three starts, all of which the Cardinals have dropped.
Opposing him will be Cubs right-hander Matt Clement, who is just one victory shy of his career high of 13 set in 2000 when he was with San Diego.
In his last start, Clement tossed his second complete game of the season, allowing two runs—one earned—and seven hits in a 4-2 win over Milwaukee on Friday night.
He is 0-3 with a 5.09 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis.
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 1st place, NL Central. Cubs - 3rd place, 1 1/2 GB, NL Central.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Haren (3-5, 4.57 ERA). He is making his first career start against the Cubs.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Clement (12-11, 4.05 ERA). Clement is 8-5 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 home starts this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Albert Pujols, .366 avg., 37 HRs, 114 RBIs and 117 runs; Edgar Renteria, 27 SBs. Cubs - Mark Grudzielanek, .305 avg.; Sosa, 32 HRs and 88 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 81 runs and 28 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 9-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - Six of RHP Haren’s 11 starts this season have come on the road, where he’s 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA. … RHP Josh Pearce was recalled from Triple-A Memphis, where he was 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA in nine starts and one relief appearance. Pearce is in his second stint with St. Louis. He appeared in two games and pitched two innings with the Cardinals. He was with the Cardinals July 28-Aug. 10. … The Cardinals are 6-5 in extra innings after dropping the first half of the day-night doubleheader in 15th innings. The Cardinals’ longest game of the season was a 20-inning contest, which they won 6-5 on April 27 at Florida. Cubs - OF Sosa’s homer was the ninth game-winner of his career, and seventh with the Cubs. It was his first since June 2, 1999, against San Diego. … Chicago’s bullpen combined to throw eight scoreless innings on Tuesday, allowing just one hit and three walks, while striking out seven. … Right-handed batters are hitting just .212 against RHP Clement this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 33-38 on the road; Cubs - 35-35 at home.
INJURIES: Cardinals - C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Journell (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (calf), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL. Cubs - RHP Dave Veres (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Corey Patterson (knee), 60-day DL.