Chicago at St. Louis

Chi. Cubs
St. Louis
W: B. Looper (7-1) L: B. Howry (3-5)
HR: CHC - J. Jones (22)   STL - G. Bennett (4)

Bennett's walk-off grand slam leads Cards over Cubs

CBS wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- For most of his career, Gary Bennett has been a low-profile backup catcher. Not this weekend.

Bennett won a game for St. Louis with two outs in the ninth for the second straight day, hitting a grand slam Sunday night to give the Cardinals a 10-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

"It's 4 years old on Christmas morning, that's the feeling," Bennett said. "You're rounding third and you see everybody jumping up and down.

"Other than the World Series. ... I guess that would feel better."

Bennett hit the game-winning single in a 2-1 victory Saturday and topped that with his first career grand slam off Bob Howry (3-5). It's his second career game-winning homer and the Cardinals' first game-winning slam since David Eckstein beat the Braves on Aug. 7, 2005.

"I've been in a lot of pennant races and you always have some unlikely heroes," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "Gary Bennett was the hero of this series.

"He's about as hot as I've ever seen him. Dang!"

It was the fourth homer of the year for Bennett. All have come since Aug. 18.

"What a weekend he's had," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We did a lot of little things really well, and some big things."

The Cardinals rebounded after getting swept by the Mets in a three-game series at New York and pulled from a virtual tie in the NL Central entering the weekend to a three-game lead over Cincinnati.

St. Louis beat up on 29-year-old rookie Les Walrond, a Cardinals 13th-round draft pick in 1998 who didn't make it out of the third in his first career start, although Jeff Weaver failed to hold a 6-3 lead.

Jacque Jones homered for the Cubs but also committed a three-base fielding error that allowed Scott Rolen to circle the bases on an RBI single in the first. The Cubs, who swept the Cardinals in two earlier series, finished 11-8 against St. Louis but have lost seven of eight overall.

Albert Pujols singled to start the ninth and he was running on the pitch on Rolen's groundout up the middle, sliding in safely to avoid a double play. Juan Encarnacion beat out an infield hit for his fourth single as Pujols advanced on shortstop Ronny Cedeno's throw, and Ronnie Belliard walked to load the bases.

Aaron Miles grounded into a force play at home with the Cubs' defense playing in before Bennett, getting regular duty with starting catcher Yadier Molina sidelined by a strained right elbow, hit a 1-0 pitch over the left-field wall. Bennett was 7-for-10 in the series.

"I threw a pitch down the middle of the plate to their hottest hitter," Howry said. "And he hit it out."

Braden Looper (7-1) worked a scoreless ninth for St. Louis.

Weaver allowed five runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. In his last start, he coughed up all but two runs of a six-run cushion and got no decision in a loss at New York. He did help himself against the Cubs with a two-run single during St. Louis' four-run third.

The Cubs tied it in the seventh on Aramis Ramirez's run-scoring groundout off Adam Wainwright and Jones' infield hit off Tyler Johnson.

Several big plays by the Cardinals' defense made it tough for the Cubs to catch up, including Pujols' running basket catch of Matt Murton's pop fly to shallow right and Rolen's lunging grab of Ramirez' drive down the third-base line with two on and two outs, both plays coming in the second. Encarnacion added two diving catches, both times denying Cedeno a hit, in the fourth and eighth.

Walrond, recalled from Triple-A Iowa to replace the injured Ryan O'Malley in the rotation, lasted 2 2/3 innings and gave up six runs, five earned, on seven hits. He's the 18th rookie starter used by the Cubs this month, the most by the franchise since 1902.

Walrond said with a little luck, he wouldn't have placed such a burden on the bullpen.

"I hated to see those guys come in early," Walrond said. "That's the main thing I'm disappointed about."


  • Pujols had been an 0-for-16 slump at home, the longest drought of his career according to the Elias Sports Bureau, before reaching on an infield hit in the third.
  • Jones has committed a career-high six errors, one more than his previous worst in four seasons.
  • In two starts against the Cubs, Weaver has allowed nine runs on 17 hits in 12 innings with no decisions.
  • The Cubs have used 14 starters, one shy of the franchise high set in several seasons.
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Gary Bennett is pumped after his second-straight game-winning hit with two outs in the ninth.  (AP)
Gary Bennett is pumped after his second-straight game-winning hit with two outs in the ninth. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

G. Bennett
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1

J. Jones
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4220101 .283
Freddie Bynum, 2B4221110 .272
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4001014 .283
Jacque Jones, RF3122100 .282
Michael Barrett, C4001001 .314
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .200
    Will Ohman, P00000001.000
    Bob Howry, P00000001.000
John Mabry, 1B4000011 .215
Matt Murton, LF3010100 .291
Ronny Cedeno, SS4110002 .241
Les Walrond, P0000000 .000
    David Aardsma, P0000000 .000
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
   a- Buck Coats, PH1000000 .000
    Henry Blanco, C1000000 .254
a-grounded out for Wuertz in the 7th
HR - Jacque Jones (22, Weaver)
SH - Les Walrond (1), David Aardsma (1)
RBI - Freddie Bynum (7), Aramis Ramirez (89), Jacque Jones 2 (65), Michael Barrett (49)
2-OUT RBI - Freddie Bynum (2), Jacque Jones 2 (30)
SB - Juan Pierre (45, 2nd base off Wainwright/Bennett), Freddie Bynum (7, 2nd base off Weaver/Bennett)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Bynum-Cedeno-Mabry
PB - Michael Barrett (10)
E - Jacque Jones (6, )
Chicago Cubs
Les Walrond 2.2765310 16.88
David Aardsma 2.1000020 5.19
Michael Wuertz 1100120 2.96
Roberto Novoa 1.2200000 4.66
Will Ohman 0.1000010 4.70
Bob Howry (L,3-5) 0.2344101 3.62
IBB - Bennett by Les Walrond
HBP - Pr. Wilson (by Roberto Novoa)
Pitches-Strikes - Les Walrond 68-33, David Aardsma 24-17, Michael Wuertz 18-11, Roberto Novoa 24-13, Will Ohman 7-5, Bob Howry 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Les Walrond 3-4, David Aardsma 1-4, Michael Wuertz 1-0, Roberto Novoa 2-2, Bob Howry 2-0
Batters Faced - Les Walrond 18, David Aardsma 7, Michael Wuertz 5, Roberto Novoa 7, Will Ohman 1, Bob Howry 6
St. Louis Cardinals
Preston Wilson, RF4110014 .265
Chris Duncan, LF5010023 .328
Albert Pujols, 1B5120003 .323
Scott Rolen, 3B5111011 .309
Juan Encarnacion, CF5240010 .284
Ronnie Belliard, 2B3200202 .283
Aaron Miles, SS5221003 .269
Gary Bennett, C2114200 .243
Jeff Weaver, P2012111 .158
    Adam Wainwright, P0000000 .400
    Tyler Johnson, P0000000 .000
    Jorge Sosa, P0000000 .130
   a- Scott Spiezio, PH1000001 .269
    Braden Looper, P0000000 .500
a-fouled out for Sosa in the 8th
HR - Gary Bennett (4, Howry)
SH - Gary Bennett (2)
RBI - Scott Rolen (79), Aaron Miles (25), Gary Bennett 4 (22), Jeff Weaver 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Scott Rolen (24), Aaron Miles (7), Gary Bennett 4 (9), Jeff Weaver 2 (2)
SB - Preston Wilson (9, 2nd base off Walrond/Barrett)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Rolen-Belliard-Pujols
E - Juan Encarnacion (6, )
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Weaver 6.1755331 6.16
Adam Wainwright (H,14) 0.1011100 3.27
Tyler Johnson (BS,2)0100000 5.08
Jorge Sosa 1.1000000 5.02
Braden Looper (W,7-1) 1000000 3.66
WP - Jeff Weaver (5), Adam Wainwright (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Weaver 88-56, Adam Wainwright 9-3, Tyler Johnson 2-1, Jorge Sosa 13-10, Braden Looper 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Weaver 8-7, Adam Wainwright 1-0, Jorge Sosa 1-3, Braden Looper 3-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Weaver 28, Adam Wainwright 2, Tyler Johnson 1, Jorge Sosa 4, Braden Looper 3
Game Information
Attendance - 44937
Game Time - 3:14
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Adam Dowdy, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor