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Eckstein squeezes Cards past Cubs in 11; Carpenter stuck at 14

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ST. LOUIS -- David Eckstein squeezed home another victory for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The leadoff hitter's perfect 11th-inning bunt, his second game-winner this month, was the difference in a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.

"I believe he's a great guy to execute whatever you want to execute," manager Tony La Russa said. "But they might pitch out, they know we're thinking about it. It's just a guessing game, that's the scary part about it."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker was looking for the squeeze, but not on a 1-1 count.

"We knew they were probably going to squeeze, we just didn't know when," Baker said. "I didn't think they were going to do it right then.

"Yeah, we knew they were going to try something like that."

Pinch-hitter John Mabry led off the 11th with a triple, the fifth of his career and first since Aug. 3, 2002, off Sergio Mitre (2-5). Mabry got the extra base after his drive off the left-field wall caromed away from Todd Hollandsworth.

"I saw the ball kick away from him and I knew it was going to be a tough throw off his back leg," Mabry said. "And I was hoping for a strong breeze from center to get me there."

With one out, Eckstein dropped a perfect bunt in front of the plate as pinch-runner Hector Luna scored without a play.

"I knew it was going to be on one of those pitches, I just didn't know which pitch," Eckstein said. "Our club just finds ways to win."

Eckstein also had a game-winning squeeze in the ninth inning July 6 at Arizona. This one came with a sellout crowd of 49,840 watching and helped the Cardinals improve to 6-2 since the All-Star break.

The Cardinals' Chris Carpenter and Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs dueled for nine innings, each allowing a run. Carpenter, who failed in an attempt to become the majors' first 15-game winner, allowed a run and eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

"It was a fun little battle," Carpenter said.

In his last seven starts, Carpenter is 6-0 and has allowed three runs in 59 2/3 innings for an 0.50 ERA.

Zambrano was more impressive, giving up only three hits and matching his career high with 12 strikeouts while walking none. He also retired his last 15 batters after a leadoff single by Mark Grudzielanek in the fifth and is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA over his last five starts.

"I was feeling great today, plus I like the matchup when I face Carpenter or (Matt) Morris," Zambrano said. "It's good to have Carpenter on the other side. Every time I come here I want to throw my best game and throw like I did today."

Zambrano also struck out 12 Cardinals on May 2, 2004, in a 1-0, 10-inning loss in St. Louis.

Jerry Hairston tied his career high with four hits for the Cubs, including a triple with one out in the 10th, and lacked only a homer for the cycle. But he was stranded when Jason Isringhausen retired Aramis Ramirez on a bases-loaded grounder to end the inning.

Al Reyes (3-1) got the last out in the 11th.

Rookie John Rodriguez hit his second home run since being called up five days ago for the Cardinals, who are 2-1 against the Cubs at home this season and 33-8 the last six seasons at Busch Stadium.

The Cubs tied it in the third on a leadoff double by Hairston and a pair of groundouts by Todd Walker and Derrek Lee.

Cubs right fielder Jeromy Burnitz robbed Albert Pujols of a go-ahead homer in the sixth, leaping above the wall to bring back the opposite-field drive.

Tempers flared briefly after Hairston's wide slide into second on a double play to end the seventh. Shortstop Eckstein objected to Hairston's attempt to fluster him with a high leg and right arm.

Notes

  • Lee has played in 93 games and gotten a hit in all but 18 games this season.
  • Cardinals starters have allowed three or fewer runs in their last 15 starts.
  • The Cardinals turned two double plays, giving them seven the last two games.
  • St. Louis has scored 73 runs in the first, its biggest inning.
  • Hairston has five career four-hit games, the last on July 5, 2004, against the Devil Rays. He was 3-for-4 against Carpenter after entering the game 1-for-18.
  • Larry Walker has struck out five of his last eight at-bats.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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David Eckstein (right) is mobbed by his teammates after his winning RBI bunt in the 11th.  (Getty Images)
David Eckstein (right) is mobbed by his teammates after his winning RBI bunt in the 11th. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

C. Carpenter
IP 9.0
H 8
ER 1
BB 2
K 3
Chicago

C. Zambrano
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 0
K 12
 

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Chicago Cubs
Jerry Hairston Jr., CF5140000 .275
Todd Walker, 2B5000014 .300
Derrek Lee, 1B4011100 .371
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4000121 .282
Aramis Ramirez, 3B5010003 .309
Todd Hollandsworth, LF4000110 .260
Neifi Perez, SS5010002 .269
Michael Barrett, C3000200 .273
Carlos Zambrano, P3020002 .261
   a- Jody Gerut, PH1000010 .264
    Glendon Rusch, P0000000 .143
   b- Matthew Murton, PH1000011 .400
    Sergio Mitre, P0000000 .364
Totals401915613 
a-struck out for Zambrano in the 10th
b-struck out for Rusch in the 11th
Batting
2B - Jerry Hairston Jr. (17, Carpenter), Derrek Lee (31, Carpenter), Carlos Zambrano (4, Carpenter)
3B - Jerry Hairston Jr. (2, Isringhausen)
RBI - Derrek Lee (79)
Team LOB - 11
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano 93110121 3.42
Glendon Rusch 1100000 3.96
Sergio Mitre (L,2-5) 0.1211000 5.40
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 118-78, Glendon Rusch 11-9, Sergio Mitre 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 7-8, Glendon Rusch 2-1, Sergio Mitre 1-0
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 30, Glendon Rusch 4, Sergio Mitre 3
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS5011010 .277
John Rodriguez, LF4111010 .316
Albert Pujols, 1B4000020 .339
Jim Edmonds, CF4010020 .270
Larry Walker, RF4000021 .271
    Al Reyes, P0000000 .000
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4010011 .282
Abraham Nunez, 3B4010002 .293
Mike Mahoney, C3000012 .118
   a- John Mabry, PH1010000 .271
    Hector Luna, PR0100000 .276
Chris Carpenter, P3000021 .044
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    So Taguchi1000001 .267
Totals372620128 
a-tripled for Mahoney in the 11th
Batting
3B - John Mabry (1, Mitre)
HR - John Rodriguez (2, Zambrano)
RBI - David Eckstein (25), John Rodriguez (2)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Grudzielanek-Eckstein-Pujols, Grudzielanek-Eckstein-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter 9811230 2.26
Jason Isringhausen 1100210 1.83
Ray King 0.2000010 2.36
Al Reyes (W,3-1) 0.1000110 2.15
IBB - Lee by Jason Isringhausen
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 106-71, Jason Isringhausen 25-11, Ray King 7-6, Al Reyes 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 15-7, Jason Isringhausen 2-0
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 35, Jason Isringhausen 6, Ray King 2, Al Reyes 2
Game Information
Attendance - 49840
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 92
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Jerry Crawford, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor