Cardinals 12, Cubs 9, 10 innings
CHICAGO (AP)—With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field, the conditions were perfect for the St. Louis Cardinals to get their offense out of a season-long funk.
“The ball was blowing out of the park. You don’t have to kill the ball to go out,” said Pujols, who cleared the bleachers in left-center with his long drive off Ryan Dempster.
“I just tried to go back up the middle and the ball went out of the park,” Pujols said. “If you made a mistake, the hitter was going to make you pay.”
St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen couldn’t hold a two-run lead in the ninth, but Pujols and the Cardinals recovered.
“Today is tough, especially given the elements and how we battled back, not once but twice,” Dempster said. “I just try to go right after guys. I made a pitch to Albert that came back a little bit and he hit it.”
The Cardinals scored only 50 runs in their first 17 games. The middle of their lineup—Pujols, Rolen and Jim Edmonds—had all struggled, batting around .200 or just under. But St. Louis had 17 hits Sunday, including homers by Rolen, Edmonds, Chris Duncan and then Pujols.
“Hopefully, this is the game that triggers everything. Hopefully, the middle of the lineup will be producing more,” Pujols said. “We don’t want to force it to happen.”
The Cubs tied the score in the ninth on Mark DeRosa’s two-out, two-run bloop single off Isringhausen (1-0). It was his first blown save in five chances.
DeRosa’s fly ball down the right-field line fell beyond the reach of second baseman Aaron Miles and in front of Wilson for a two-run single.
Rolen’s two-run triple in the ninth gave the Cardinals a 9-7 lead. Rolen finished 5-for-6 and raised his batting average 68 points in one day from .200 to .268
“I’ll take it. It’s been a long while,” Rolen said. “I feel like all of a sudden I’m having a decent year. … I felt more comfortable today. I controlled my at-bats a little better. It was a good day to hit.”
Ramirez’s three-run homer off St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright tied the score at 7 in the sixth.
On a 75-degree day with the wind blowing out at 18 mph, it was a home run hitter’s delight.
Duncan hit a two-run shot in the fifth off Wade Miller, giving St. Louis a 6-4 lead. One out later, Rolen lifted a long solo shot to left-center, his second homer of the season.
Adam Kennedy, batting .196 with just two RBIs entering play, hit a two-out, two-run double on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth to tie it at 4.
Barrett’s third homer in his last three games was a two-run drive to center that made it 4-2 Chicago in the third.
Edmonds’ first homer of the season, a two-run shot in the second, tied it at 2 and matched Edmonds’ RBI total coming into the game.
Miller gave up nine hits and seven runs in 4 2-3 innings. Wainwright was tagged for 12 hits and seven runs in 5 1-3 innings.
Jacque Jones hit a two-run single for the Cubs with two outs in the first.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he still hasn’t decided what to do with an outfield that is jammed with five players. With Soriano slated to move to left field from center when he returns to the starting lineup Monday, the Cubs could stick with rookie Felix Pie in center. That means Matt Murton, Cliff Floyd and Jacque Jones will be vying for playing time in right. “He (Pie) is going to need to play every day, whether it’s here or in (Triple-A) Iowa. We’ll talk about our outfield situation here over the next day or two,” Piniella said. … Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 2 with persistent swelling in his right elbow, has been increasing his rehab work and has reported no problems. “He’s been working every day,” manager Tony La Russa said. “So far, no setbacks. He’s starting to amp things up little by little.”