On Wednesday, the Cubs rebounded from a 6-0 deficit to beat the Cardinals 8-7 for their third win in four games. Chicago moved within a half-game of St. Louis, which is a half-game behind first-place Houston in the wild NL Central race.
Moises Alou, who said he was still angry about a blown call that could have cost the Cubs a win in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, had a career-high five hits, including a go-ahead single in the eighth inning.
“Against St. Louis, right in the middle of a pennant race, for me to come up clutch and get the game-winning hit was awesome,” he said. “It was a huge game.
“Down 6-0 this team really showed a lot of heart.”
Alou was thrown out of Tuesday’s game for arguing with umpires after his bases-loaded drive was called foul, despite replays that appeared to show the opposite.
Wednesday’s game had its share of fireworks as well, with each starting pitcher hitting the other, causing Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Cubs skipper Dusty Baker to have a shouting match in the third inning.
“That was a great, great victory for us,” Baker said. “We were hitting the ball hard all day long and had nothing to show for it. The guy’s kept battling and fighting and grinding and grinding.
“This was the ultimate comeback in a big game and a big series.”
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 2nd place, 1/2 GB, NL Central. Cubs - 3rd place, 1 GB, NL Central.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Brett Tomko (11-8, 5.45 ERA). On Saturday, Tomko gave up three earned runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds—his second straight victory and fifth in six decisions. He is 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA in eight career appearances, including seven starts, against the Cubs.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Shawn Estes (7-11, 5.95 ERA). Estes gave up five earned runs and four hits in just two innings of Saturday’s 9-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers—his third straight defeat and sixth in seven decisions. The veteran lefty is 3-3 with a 5.21 ERA in 13 career starts against the Cardinals.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Albert Pujols, .361 avg., 37 HRs, 114 RBIs and 117 runs; Edgar Renteria, 28 SBs. Cubs - Mark Grudzielanek, .308 avg.; Sammy Sosa, 32 HRs and 88 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 81 runs and 29 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 9-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - RHP Woody Williams made his first relief appearance since pitching for Toronto against the New York Yankees on June 6, 1996. La Russa said he ran out of pitchers after Tuesday’s doubleheader. … OF Pujols is 2-for-15 in this series. … SS Renteria tied Doc Lavan’s 1921 club record for RBIs by a shortstop (82) Wednesday. Cubs - In 45 games since the All-Star break, the Cubs have scored three or runs or fewer 23 times, but have allowed three or fewer runs 28 times. … INF Grudzielanek went 1-for-1 Wednesday, extending his hitting streak to eight games. … LHP Estes is 3-6 with a 5.68 ERA in 13 home starts this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 33-39 on the road; Cubs - 36-35 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.