St. Louis at Chicago

Scoreboard
St. Louis (58-61)000001000140
Chi. Cubs (62-59) «00000200x240

Cubs stop streaking Cards, take over first place in NL Central

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

CHICAGO -- Jacque Jones has heard it all. Boos, catcalls and on Friday the cheers from a powerful ovation at Wrigley Field.

Benched earlier this season and nearly traded, Jones made a great catch and hit a two-run homer to lead a 2-1 Cubs' victory Friday that ended the St. Louis Cardinals' five-game winning streak.

The Cubs lead Milwaukee by a half-game, after the Brewers lost 8-3 to Cincinnati. St. Louis is three games back in third.

"As bad as I was in the first half, I figured I didn't have anything to lose going into the second half," Jones said. "Just go out and play and enjoy the game, relax and see what happens."

In the fifth inning, Jones helped keep the game scoreless when he ran full speed toward the center-field wall and made an over-the-shoulder grab on Brendan Ryan's long drive as he hit the ivy-covered bricks.

"I got a good jump on it, my only concern was hitting the wall, but I went full out and kind of felt the warning track a couple of steps and then the little grass behind the track and I knew I'd be close," he said.

Jones, who'd turned his ankle Thursday while getting four hits against the Reds, didn't get hurt.

"I kind rolled into it with my shoulder and my back. I was a little further away from the wall than I thought and then I turned around and my glove was in the ivy and I rolled into the ivy," Jones said.

Albert Pujols' 26th home run put the Cardinals ahead in the sixth. In the bottom half, Ryan Theriot singled and Jones hit his fifth homer, arguably his biggest of the season.

Jones connected off Braden Looper (10-10), pumping his fist as he rounded first and setting off a celebration from a crowd of 41,634 that included many Cardinals boosters.

"It's tough. It's tight. The Cardinals snuck their way back into it," Jones said.

"It's always that way with these guys. These games you never know which team is home unless somebody does something good because it's half and half, half Cardinals, half Cubs."

Rich Hill (7-7) earned his first win since July 16, allowing a run and three hits over seven innings. He credited Jones' catch for helping him his long drought.

"It was an unbelievable catch," Hill said. "It was fun to watch. It's fun to watch him play."

St. Louis threatened against reliever Bob Howry in the eighth when David Eckstein singled, stole second and pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel walked. Pujols came up again, but he popped out to second baseman Mike Fontenot in shallow right to end the inning.

"I had a good opportunity to put my team on top or tie the game," Pujols said. "I got a good pitch to hit, but I just missed. I got under it. To us this game is almost like the postseason. We're both real close in the race. That's how I feel every time we play here."

Ryan Dempster worked the ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances.

Theriot's opposite-field single in the fourth was the only hit Looper allowed through the first five innings.

The Cardinals, who'd given up only 10 runs during their five-game winning streak, got another strong pitching performance from Looper. He gave up four hits in six innings.

"I felt I was in control of the game. I just made a bad pitch at the wrong time," Looper said.

Looper had already beaten the Cubs twice this season. In his previous 18 outings against them, mostly as a reliever, he permitted three runs in 32 innings.

The Cubs and Cardinals have spent most of the season chasing Milwaukee in the NL Central. Chicago has managed to stay close despite winning only six of its last 16 games.

"I've learned over the years that we can both be in last place, the Cubs and Cardinals, and the fans are 100 percent excited," Cards manager Tony La Russa said. "The fact that we are both smelling first place, it adds significance. ... It's a great rivalry. There's no better rivalry than this one."

Some of the loudest noise Friday was produced by jets practicing for an air and water show over Lake Michigan this weekend. They buzzed by the ballpark with a deafening roar.

Notes

  • OF Juan Encarnacion returned to the Cardinals lineup after missing seven straight games with a sore left knee.
  • La Russa argued with plate umpire Angel Hernandez after an interference call in the fourth. While Pujols broke from first, Scott Rolen struck out and his follow-through carried him across the plate. Rolen was ruled to have interfered with catcher Jason Kendall's high throw -- even though Pujols easily made it back to first, he was ruled out because of the interference. In the bottom of the inning, Derrek Lee of the Cubs struck out and his momentum carried him across the plate -- though not as far -- as Jones stole second, but no interference was called. That brought La Russa out for another lengthy discussion with Hernandez.
 
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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Booed and benched earlier in the year, Jacque Jones wins it for the Cubs with his 2-run shot in the sixth.  (AP)
Booed and benched earlier in the year, Jacque Jones wins it for the Cubs with his 2-run shot in the sixth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

R. Hill
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 2
K 7
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS3010110 .301
Ryan Ludwick, LF3000012 .249
   a- Rick Ankiel, PH0000100 .296
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
Albert Pujols, 1B4121002 .319
Juan Encarnacion, RF4000001 .285
Scott Rolen, 3B4000021 .267
Jim Edmonds, CF4000010 .249
Yadier Molina, C2000100 .277
Braden Looper, P2000021 .184
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
   b- Chris Duncan, PH-LF1000010 .272
Brendan Ryan, 2B3010001 .333
Totals3014138  
a-walked for Ludwick in the 8th
b-struck out for Flores in the 8th
Batting
HR - Albert Pujols (26, Hill)
RBI - Albert Pujols (78)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (20)
SB - David Eckstein (7, 2nd base off Howry/Kendall)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Pujols-Eckstein
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper (L,10-10) 6422341 4.98
Randy Flores 1000010 4.10
Russ Springer 1000010 2.91
IBB - Ramirez by Braden Looper
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 101-56, Randy Flores 10-7, Russ Springer 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 7-6, Randy Flores 2-0, Russ Springer 1-1
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 24, Randy Flores 3, Russ Springer 3
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Theriot, SS4120000 .290
Jacque Jones, CF-RF4112011 .276
Derrek Lee, 1B3000130 .310
Aramis Ramirez, 3B1000201 .321
Daryle Ward, RF3010003 .306
    Felix Pie, CF0000000 .217
Matt Murton, LF3000002 .263
Mike Fontenot, 2B3000000 .286
Jason Kendall, C3000010 .241
Rich Hill, P2000010 .130
   a- Ronny Cedeno, PH1000000 .118
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
Totals2724236  
a-grounded out for Hill in the 7th
Batting
2B - Daryle Ward (8, Looper)
HR - Jacque Jones (5, Looper)
RBI - Jacque Jones 2 (46)
SB - Jacque Jones (5, 2nd base off Looper/Molina)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Kendall
Chicago Cubs
Rich Hill (W,7-7) 7311271 3.73
Bob Howry (H,12) 1100110 3.86
Ryan Dempster (S,18) 1000000 3.47
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Hill 115-76, Bob Howry 18-10, Ryan Dempster 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Hill 5-8, Ryan Dempster 1-2
Batters Faced - Rich Hill 25, Bob Howry 5, Ryan Dempster 3
Game Information
Attendance - 41634
Game Time - 2:30
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Derryl Cousins