ST. LOUIS (AP)—After a miserable May, the Chicago Cubs began the new month on a good note. Even if it took them more than five hours.
Closer Ryan Dempster (1-3) worked 2 1-3 innings and Pierre had three hits for the Cubs, who were an abysmal 7-22 in May.
“Rarely do you come in here and win a game like that,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Hopefully the worm has turned and this is the way to start off June.
“It was a hard-fought game by both sides.”
Scott Rolen had three hits for the Cardinals, including a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning after Albert Pujols was walked intentionally to load the bases. But a fielding error by the six-time Gold Glove third baseman allowed the Cubs to score a pair of unearned runs off Jason Isringhausen to tie it in the ninth.
“I’m just thinking field the ball, and my reaction was up, and in retrospect I wish my reaction was down,” Rolen said. “I don’t have an excuse for a ball that goes between your legs in the ninth inning.”
Manager Tony La Russa said he didn’t know what happened on the play.
“I didn’t ask him,” La Russa said. “Errors are part of the game. As many great plays as he makes, that happens in baseball.”
Walker’s routine bases-loaded grounder went between the Rolen’s legs with one out in the ninth, allowing two runs to score to tie it at 4.
“This is one of the weirdest nights I’ve ever had in baseball,” Walker said.
The Cardinals loaded the bases in the 10th and 12th, coming up empty both times with David Eckstein making the last out. He lined out to third off Scott Eyre to end the 10th and bounced out against Dempster (1-3) to end the 12th.
“It was right at him,” Eckstein said of the 10th-inning liner. “You’ve got to find a way to come through, and I didn’t.”
Light-hitting Yadier Molina matched his career high with four hits for the Cardinals, raising his average to .196. However, Pujols was 1-for-6 for the Cardinals, who are 13-13 against the NL Central after going 51-29 against the division last year.
Pierre doubled off Josh Hancock (1-2), the last St. Louis pitcher and starting his fourth inning, to start the 14th. He advanced on Neifi Perez’ sacrifice and Barrett was walked intentionally before Walker, who was 0-for-7, hit a sharp grounder to first to allow Pierre to score without a play.
“He was 0-for-7?” Baker said. “Oh my God, I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Hancock has thrown 29 innings in 21 appearances, although he was a starter with the Reds in 2004.
“I was the last guy in the bullpen so I was going to take it until we won or lost,” Hancock said of Pierre’s double. “I wasn’t tired, I just made one mistake and he hit it.”
The Cardinals had a season-high 19 hits, but were hampered by a depleted bench, with Jim Edmonds unavailable due to an abdominal injury that could land him on the 15-day disabled list and Scott Spiezio at home due to illness for the second straight game.
“We played 14 innings and we had several chances to win it,” La Russa said. “That isn’t why we got beat.”
Jacque Jones homered for the third straight game and had three hits for the Cubs, who also got three-hit games from Michael Barrett and Ronny Cedeno. Pierre’s RBI single in the fifth was his fifth of the season, but third in five games.
Jones led off the fifth with his 10th homer, and second off Sidney Ponson, and the Cubs added another run in the inning on Pierre’s one-out RBI single.
The Cardinals cut the gap to a run in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by So Taguchi, who got the game-winning hit in an 11-inning victory over the Astros on Wednesday.
New St. Louis Rams coach Scott Linehan threw out the first pitch to Cardinals pitcher Jason Marquis. … Cubs RHP Mark Prior, rehabbing from a shoulder injury, makes his second rehab start on Saturday for Class A Peoria. … A crowd of 45,799, the largest at new Busch Stadium, continues the Cardinals’ streak of all sellouts at the ballpark. … Eckstein leads the NL with 24 multihit games after going 2-for-7. … Barrett is 10-for-24 against St. Louis pitching with three homers and 10 RBIs. … Matt Murton was 0-for-3 after going 10-for-23 during a seven-game hitting streak. He’s 2-for-23 against the Cardinals. … Pujols has 12 intentional walks, second-most in the majors behind Barry Bonds’ 21.