Cardinals 4, Cubs 3
Rolen made up for the ailing Pujols’ absence with a three-run homer, Edmonds threw out what would have been the tying run and the Cardinals held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 Monday night for their 10th victory in 12 games.
“It doesn’t matter how you do it or when you do it as long as it gets done,” said Rolen, who has an major league-best 60 RBIs. “We put them all together right there in that inning, and that was all Carpenter needed.”
Reggie Sanders also homered for the Cardinals, and Chris Carpenter (7-1) tied his career-best with his sixth straight win. He gave up three runs and nine hits in 8-13 innings, striking out six and walking none.
Jason Isringhausen got the final out for his 13th save in 16 chances.
Corey Patterson and Glendon Rusch homered for the Cubs, and Chicago limited the Cardinals to just one hit over the final five innings. But it wasn’t enough to keep Chicago from losing for the ninth time in 13 games.
Rusch (2-1) gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings.
“We got another one-run loss,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re going to have to start winning these one-run games soon, getting some singles and runners in scoring position.”
Carpenter has been a good-luck charm of sorts for the Cardinals, who have won in each of his last eight starts, and they needed a boost without Pujols. The NL batting champion missed his first game of the season after straining his left hamstring running the bases Sunday, and the Cardinals don’t know when he’ll return.
But the Cardinals made the most of their six hits and got to Rusch for four runs in the fourth inning.
With one out in the fourth, Edgar Renteria doubled, and Jim Edmonds drew a walk. Rolen then launched a 1-1 pitch from Rusch into the left-field bleachers. It dropped into the last row of seats, and the fan who grabbed it immediately threw it back onto the field.
But it was too late, the Cardinals were up 3-1. Sanders quickly made it 4-1, launching a 2-0 pitch onto Waveland Avenue.
“I’m disappointed giving a good team like that four runs in one inning, especially the way Carpenter’s been throwing the ball,” Rusch said.
The Cubs got one of the runs back in the fourth on Derrek Lee’s RBI double, and Rusch helped out his cause with a first-pitch homer in the fifth, the second home run of his career.
“I don’t have an explanation for that,” Rusch said, smiling. “It felt good.”
He could have felt even better if the Cubs hadn’t blown their other chances to score in the fifth inning.
When Michael Barrett singled to center, Jose Macias hesitated going from second to third and third-base coach Wendell Kim had no choice but to hold him. Moises Alou followed with a shallow fly to center and Macias—one of the Cubs’ best runners—sprinted for home.
But Edmonds made a perfect throw, and Macias was out at the plate on the inning-ending double play.
“That’s why he’s a Gold Glover, he runs them down,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “I think he’s as strong and accurate a thrower as there is inthe major leagues.”
Carpenter also won six games in 1999. … Carpenter retired the side in the first inning, a first for a Cardinals starter since May 19. … John Mabry, starting for Pujols at first, was 1-for-4. … Rusch’s other home run came on April 5, 2002, against Rick Helling. … The Cubs were looking for their firstthree-game winning streak since May 13-16.