Cubs 6, Cardinals 5

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CHICAGO (AP)—Alex Gonzalez got just enough of it.

With the bases loaded and the game tied in the ninth, Gonzalez hit a slow grounder that sneaked past a diving Scott Rolen at third. Shortstop Edgar Renteria failed to field the ball cleanly and didn’t attempt a throw as Corey Patterson raced home, giving the Chicago Cubs a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

“I knew it was going to be a tough play once Rolen missed the ball,” Gonzalez said. “I heard the crowd go crazy, that’s when I knew it was over.”

Gonzalez would know. The Cubs shortstop has had seven game-ending hits in the ninth inning during his two years in Chicago.

“Some people just rise to that situation,” said Patterson, who didn’t start because of an illness. “He’s done it a bunch.”

Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou homered for the Cubs, who pulled within one game of the NL Central-leading Cardinals.

Sosa’s homer moved him into a tie for 14th on the career list. He’s tied with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews with 512.

St. Louis’ Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds connected for the second day in a row at Wrigley Field.

It was the first time since May 25, 2000, that the Cubs rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win.

Patterson, a last-minute scratch from the lineup because of a heat-related sickness, led off the ninth with a pinch-hit single that bounced high off the plate. After Tom Goodwin struck out trying to bunt, Patterson went to third on Mark Grudzielanek’s double down the left-field line, bringing Sosa to the plate.

Esteban Yan came on to relieve Jeff Fassero (1-4) and struck out Sosa. Yan then intentionally walked Alou—who had four homers in his last eight at-bats—to get to Gonzalez.

Rolen said he didn’t have a choice on whether to dive.

“It’s a base hit. There’s nothing anyone can do about it,” Rolen said. “Esteban threw a good pitch, it just didn’t work out for us.”

The Cubs trailed by five after two innings, but chipped away at the deficit on homers by Sosa and Alou and tied it when reliever Cal Eldred threw consecutive wild pitches in the seventh.

Trailing 5-4, Goodwin walked to lead off the seventh and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Grudzielanek.

With one out, Goodwin made it to third easily on a wild pitch by Eldred, then sprinted home when Eldred uncorked a second wild pitch—barely beating the throw from catcher Mike Matheny.

Or did he?

“I couldn’t tell you if I was safe or out, but I knew it was close,” Goodwin said. “I kind of closed my eyes when I slid.”

Mike Remlinger (5-2), who came on in the eighth, got the win.

The Cardinals came out slugging, taking a 5-0 lead on a three-run homer by Pujols and a solo shot by Edmonds, his 27th.

Edmonds gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the first inning, hitting a homer to deep right-center for his second in as many days.

Pujols then drove the first pitch he saw in the second over the left-field fence and onto Waveland Avenue, capping a four-run inning that gave the Cardinals a 5-0 lead. Matheny, who led off the inning with a single, scored earlier on a single by Edmonds.

With starter Shawn Estes laboring on a humid afternoon, it seemed likely the Cubs would have to make an early call to their beleaguered bullpen for the second straight game. The Cubs used five relievers Friday in an 11-8 loss to the Cardinals.

Estes eventually found his rhythm and didn’t let the game get out of hand. He allowed just two hits after the second and went six innings, allowing five runs on nine hits while throwing 112 pitches.

“That was huge,” manager Dusty Baker said. “If he can get through the first couple of innings he usually is pretty good.

“If I had to go to the bullpen again early in the game like yesterday, we would’ve really been spent.”

Down 5-0, Alou hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second, and Sosa scored on a grounder by Hee Seop Choi in the fourth to bring the Cubs within three.

After Goodwin singled to center in the fifth, Sosa connected for his 13th homer of the season to make it 5-4. In his last 23 games, Sosa has seven home runs and 17 RBIs.

Cardinals right-hander Matt Morris lasted just five innings in his first start since he was scratched because of tenderness in his right shoulder. Morris gave up four runs on eight hits, the seventh start in a row he’s allowedat least four runs.

Notes

Edmonds’ 27 home runs are the most he’s ever hit before the All-Star break. … Eric Karros, who entered 0-for-9 as a pinch-hitter, had a pinch-hit single in the eighth. … Edmonds has homered in eight of his last 11 games. … Alou hit three homers Friday and one Saturday. His four homers ties acareer high over a two-day period.

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