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St. Louis at Philadelphia

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St. Louis (84-69) «201000100472
Philadelphia (98-54)0100000023101

Cards gain ground on Braves; Phillies clinch top seed

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- The celebration in the St. Louis clubhouse showed just how excited the surging Cardinals are to be in the thick of the playoff chase.

Kyle Lohse outpitched Roy Halladay, and St. Louis held off the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 on Monday night to gain ground on Atlanta in the NL wild-card race.

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Lance Berkman had a home run and an RBI single for the Cardinals, who moved within 2½ games of the wild card-leading Braves.

Moments after Octavio Dotel closed out the Cardinals' victory, Atlanta lost 6-5 at Florida on Omar Infante's two-run homer off Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cardinals, who were watching the game on television, burst into loud cheers that reverberated around the clubhouse.

"To win our game we're already pretty happy, and to see that, that was big," Lohse said.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who was tuned to the Rams-Giants NFL game in his office, smiled when he heard the news.

"This is what the pennant race is all about," La Russa said. "This is what you try to sell in spring training. This is the fun of it. It's part of the fun of being in contention in September."

St. Louis, which took three of four in the series, has won 10 of 12 overall.

Despite the loss, the NL East champion Phillies clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason when Milwaukee lost to the Chicago Cubs 5-2.

Lohse (14-8) tossed 7 1/3 strong innings, allowing an unearned run and seven hits while striking out five and walking one.

"I thought Lohse was outstanding," La Russa said. "You just can't give him enough credit. We had our best defensive team out there and we kicked it around. He picked everybody up all day."

The Cardinals, who made a pair of errors, have nine games remaining and return to St. Louis for a six-game homestand that begins Tuesday against the Mets.

Atlanta has eight games left, including the final three against the Phillies in Atlanta.

"We've had our backs up against the wall for a long time now," Lohse said. "Every series has been tough. We knew coming in here was going to be really tough. To take three out of four was huge. We've just got to keep it going."

The Phillies scored a pair of runs in the ninth off reliever Jason Motte. Carlos Ruiz doubled with one out and scored on Jimmy Rollins' triple. Rollins scored on Shane Victorino's groundout.

Arthur Rhodes relieved Motte and gave up a two-out single to Chase Utley. Dotel followed and retired Hunter Pence to earn his second save with the Cardinals. He also had one for Toronto this year.

The Phillies lost their second straight since clinching their fifth consecutive NL East title on Saturday. Philadelphia played most of its regulars, with only Ryan Howard getting the day off after receiving an anti-inflammatory injection in his left ankle. Howard is expected to miss a couple of days.

The Phillies (98-54) remained four victories shy of setting a franchise record for wins in a season.

"We came out a little flat, but that's not going to last," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We'll be ready."

Phillies hitters have been in a bit of a lull lately. Philadelphia has scored three runs or fewer in 10 of its past 11 games, averaging 2.5 runs while going 5-6.

"I'm looking for our offense to pick up," Manuel said. "We've got to start scoring some runs before we go into the playoffs."

Halladay (18-6) had won seven consecutive September decisions and was 9-0 with a 1.97 ERA in his previous 10 September starts dating to 2009. But he failed in his bid for his 19th victory and 40th over the past two seasons, which would've marked the first time a Philadelphia pitcher accomplished that since Steve Carlton won 42 games combined in 1979-80.

Halladay tossed eight innings and allowed four runs on six hits with six strikeouts and a season-high four walks (two intentional).

"Hopefully we'll get things going and finish on the right foot," Halladay said. "We've won all year and there's no doubt we'll continue that. There's no cause for concern. Naturally there's a little lull after you clinch."

Berkman's solo home run and Nick Punto's RBI groundout in the first helped the Cardinals take a 2-0 lead. It was Berkman's 31st home run, but first since Aug. 26.

The Phillies got a run back in the second on Ruiz's single.

St. Louis regained a two-run lead in the third when Lohse, after hitting his second double of the season to lead off the inning, scored on Berkman's two-out single.

Philadelphia had a chance for a big inning in the bottom half, loading the bases with one out on a pair of singles and an error, but Lohse struck out Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco to end the threat.

Albert Pujols' two-out double to left in the seventh drove in Punto and gave the Cardinals a 4-1 lead. The slugger, who had been 1 for 10 against Halladay, has reached safely in 35 consecutive games.

Philadelphia lost a four-game series for the first time this season after winning its previous eight. The Phillies have scored three runs or fewer in 10 of their past 11 games, averaging 2.5 runs while going 5-6.

Rafael Furcal went 3 for 4 with two doubles for St. Louis.

Notes

  • Rollins' triple gave him 100 for his career.
  • Berkman is 11 for 24 (.458) in his past seven games.
  • The crowd of 45,048 was the 200th consecutive regular-season sellout and 213th overall, counting postseason games.
  • Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday missed his fifth consecutive game with an inflamed tendon on his right middle finger.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Nick Punto slides past Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz to score on Albert Pujols' double in the seventh inning.  (AP)
Nick Punto slides past Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz to score on Albert Pujols' double in the seventh inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

L. Berkman
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
St. Louis

K. Lohse
IP 7.1
H 7
ER 0
BB 1
K 5
 

Related Video

St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS4130000 .233
Nick Punto, 2B2101211 .256
Albert Pujols, 1B5011024 .299
Lance Berkman, LF2122200 .299
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
    Octavio Dotel, P0000000 .000
Allen Craig, RF4000016 .307
    Adron Chambers, LF0000000 .333
Jon Jay, CF4000010 .304
Gerald Laird, C4000010 .232
Daniel Descalso, 3B4000010 .263
Kyle Lohse, P3110011 .161
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
   a- Skip Schumaker, PH-RF1000000 .287
Totals3347448  
a-grounded out for Rzepczynski in the 9th
Batting
2B - Rafael Furcal 2 (14, Halladay, Herndon), Albert Pujols (26, Halladay), Kyle Lohse (2, Halladay)
HR - Lance Berkman (31, Halladay)
SH - Rafael Furcal (3), Nick Punto (5)
RBI - Nick Punto (16), Albert Pujols (96), Lance Berkman 2 (89)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (28), Lance Berkman 2 (32)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Lohse-Pujols
E - Rafael Furcal (12, Missed catch of throw), Nick Punto (3, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle Lohse (W,14-8) 7.1710150 3.47
Marc Rzepczynski (H,18) 0.2000110 3.24
Jason Motte (H,18) 0.2222010 1.81
Arthur Rhodes0100000 4.78
Octavio Dotel (S,3) 0.1000000 3.67
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 112-72, Marc Rzepczynski 13-5, Jason Motte 12-8, Arthur Rhodes 2-1, Octavio Dotel 5-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 10-8, Marc Rzepczynski 1-0, Jason Motte 1-0, Octavio Dotel 1-0
Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 31, Marc Rzepczynski 3, Jason Motte 4, Arthur Rhodes 1, Octavio Dotel 1
Philadelphia Phillies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jimmy Rollins, SS4111100 .268
Shane Victorino, CF5011002 .288
Chase Utley, 2B5010000 .262
Hunter Pence, RF5020021 .311
Raul Ibanez, LF4000024 .242
Placido Polanco, 3B3110113 .281
Ross Gload, 1B3020000 .257
   a- John Mayberry Jr., PH-1B1000001 .268
Carlos Ruiz, C4121002 .280
Roy Halladay, P2000013 .113
    David Herndon, P0000000 .000
   b- Brandon Moss, PH1000011 .000
Totals37310327  
a-grounded out for Gload in the 8th
b-struck out for Herndon in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ross Gload (6, Lohse), Carlos Ruiz (22, Motte)
3B - Jimmy Rollins (2, Motte)
SH - Roy Halladay (15)
RBI - Jimmy Rollins (59), Shane Victorino (61), Carlos Ruiz (36)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Ruiz (14)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
PB - Carlos Ruiz (8)
E - Ross Gload (1, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Roy Halladay (L,18-6) 8644461 2.41
David Herndon 1100020 3.48
IBB - Berkman by Roy Halladay, by Berkman
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Halladay 107-73, David Herndon 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Halladay 13-6, David Herndon 1-0
Batters Faced - Roy Halladay 35, David Herndon 4
Game Information
Attendance - 45048
Game Time - 2:36
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Rob Drake, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Gary Darling