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Chi. Cubs (70-87) «000001031590
St. Louis (86-71)010000000181

Cubs top Cards, help Brewers win division title

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis bullpen took another pounding, leaving the Cardinals' wild-card hopes in serious jeopardy. Manager Tony La Russa was pretty peeved about his hitters, too.

Alfonso Soriano's first home run of the month was a tiebreaking three-run shot in the eighth inning that sent the Chicago Cubs to a 5-1 victory on Friday night.

"We're not worried about if it's St. Louis or Atlanta who makes the playoffs," Soriano said. "We've just got to keep playing hard. I hope the Cardinals make the playoffs but they have to work hard because nothing is given in this game."

The loss dropped the Cardinals three games behind Atlanta, which beat Washington 7-4, for the wild card. The defeat also clinched the NL Central for Milwaukee.

"We started this run weeks ago, everybody counted us out a long time ago and we battled back to give ourselves a chance," Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter said. "I think it was to try to play hard and play well the rest of the year, no matter what happens. We're going to be here ready to go. Everybody's excited."

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The Cardinals grounded into three double plays for a season total of 165, by far the most in the major leagues and one shy of the team's National League record set in 1958. They were 3 for 16 with men on base and 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

"It's an irritating game," La Russa said. "A lot of things were irritating me, when you've got this much at stake."

Carpenter was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh after throwing 93 pitches. The St. Louis bullpen got punished for the second straight game when Soriano connected off Kyle McClellan (12-7). Starlin Castro added an RBI single off Mitchell Boggs in the ninth.

Carpenter had no argument with La Russa's decision to lift him. During his tenure in St. Louis, the manager rarely has lifted his aces when they still had the game in their hands and with a reasonable pitch count.

"We need to win and we need to get some runs," Carpenter said. "Me leading off the inning isn't a great chance to score some runs."

The Cardinals missed a chance to narrow their wild-card deficit to one game on Thursday when they let the New York Mets score six runs in the ninth off three relievers. Now, after the fourth loss in 16 games, they have just five games left to catch Atlanta.

"What are they doing over there right now?" Cubs pitcher Matt Garza yelled in the clubhouse. "Going 'aww man, aww man."'

Shortstop Rafael Furcal, whose fielding error opened the door for the Mets' big inning, did not play. He has five errors in his last six games.

St. Louis grounded into its last double play in the eighth after getting two hits off Jeff Samardzija (8-4) with Matt Holliday set to pinch hit.

"Anything but a double play, that would have been fun to see," La Russa said. "Just irritating."

Carpenter allowed a run on five hits in seven innings, coming on the heels of eight shutout innings in his last start against the Phillies. His squeeze bunt in the second drove in the Cardinals' lone run.

The Cardinals surpassed 3 million in attendance for the eighth straight season with a crowd of 40,355.

Castro opened the game with a single for his 200th hit, at age 21 becoming the youngest player in Cubs history to do it. Carlos Pena had an RBI double in the sixth and three walks to give him 97 on the year, the most by a Cubs first baseman in statistics kept since 1900.

Darwin Barney tripled to lead off the eighth and Pena was intentionally walked with one out before Soriano, who's 4 for 8 with two homers and five RBI against McClellan, hit his first homer since Aug. 30 into the visitors' bullpen in left.

"I was just looking for my pitch, a little in and a little up," Soriano said. "I think when I see him I'm more comfortable at the plate. I made a good swing and I think he made a bad pitch."

The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on two walks and a single. Ryan Dempster fell behind 2-0 in the count to each of the first four hitters but Ryan Theriot grounded into a double play swinging on the first pitch.

Dempster allowed a run on four hits in six innings, his fifth quality start in five tries this month with nothing to show for it. He's 0-3 in September despite a 3.34 ERA, and 0-5 in his last seven overall.

Notes

  • Kyle Lohse (14-8, 3.47) opposes Rodrigo Lopez (6-6, 4.71) in the second game of the series Saturday. Lopez is 2-5 with a 6.70 ERA against the Cardinals and Lohse is one shy of his career high for wins.
  • The Cardinals honored farm clubs Johnson City (Appalachian) and Quad Cities (Midwest) for championship seasons in a pregame ceremony.
  • Cubs 3B D.J. LeMahieu made an outstanding leaping catch on Theriot's liner to end the fourth. Carpenter nimbly fielded Castro's squibber and made a nice throw to end the fifth.
  • Carpenter has worked seven or more innings 20 times.
  • McClellan has allowed 21 homers after giving up a total of 20 his three previous seasons, all as a setup man.
 
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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Alfonso Soriano deals the Cards' wild-card hopes a serious blow with a tiebreaking three-run shot in the eighth.  (Getty Images)
Alfonso Soriano deals the Cards' wild-card hopes a serious blow with a tiebreaking three-run shot in the eighth. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

Y. Molina
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
Chicago

A. Soriano
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
 

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starlin Castro, SS5021002 .307
Darwin Barney, 2B5220001 .279
Bryan LaHair, RF4000023 .341
    Reed Johnson, RF0000000 .314
Carlos Pena, 1B1111300 .231
Alfonso Soriano, LF4113014 .244
    Sean Marshall, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
Marlon Byrd, CF4010001 .280
DJ LeMahieu, 3B4000012 .255
Koyie Hill, C3010020 .191
Ryan Dempster, P2010000 .088
   a- Blake DeWitt, PH1000001 .259
    Jeff Samardzija, P0000000 .000
    Tony Campana, LF1100001 .261
Totals3459536  
a-grounded out for Dempster in the 7th
Batting
2B - Carlos Pena (27, Carpenter)
3B - Darwin Barney (6, McClellan)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (25, McClellan)
SH - Koyie Hill (4)
RBI - Starlin Castro (64), Carlos Pena (80), Alfonso Soriano 3 (84)
SB - Tony Campana (23, 2nd base off Boggs/Molina)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Castro-Barney-Pena, LeMahieu-Hill-Pena, LeMahieu-Pena
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ryan Dempster 6411650 4.53
Jeff Samardzija (W,8-4) 1200000 2.98
Sean Marshall (H,32) 1200010 2.31
Carlos Marmol 1000120 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Dempster 106-57, Jeff Samardzija 13-7, Sean Marshall 10-9, Carlos Marmol 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Dempster 7-4, Sean Marshall 1-0, Carlos Marmol 1-0
Batters Faced - Ryan Dempster 26, Jeff Samardzija 4, Sean Marshall 4, Carlos Marmol 4
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jon Jay, CF4010122 .300
Nick Punto, SS4010112 .258
Albert Pujols, 1B4010012 .304
Lance Berkman, RF2010210 .301
David Freese, 3B3000114 .293
Yadier Molina, C4030000 .305
Skip Schumaker, LF2110110 .285
   a- Allen Craig, PH-LF1000001 .311
Ryan Theriot, 2B4000011 .271
Chris Carpenter, P1001000 .149
   b- Adron Chambers, PH1000000 .333
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .143
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
   c- Daniel Descalso, PH0000100 .263
Totals3018178  
a-grounded into a double play for Schumaker in the 8th
b-fouled out for Carpenter in the 7th
c-walked for Boggs in the 9th
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (28, Dempster), Skip Schumaker (18, Dempster)
SH - Chris Carpenter (9)
RBI - Chris Carpenter (4)
CS - Jon Jay (7, 2nd base by Samardzija/Hill)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Carpenter-Theriot-Pujols, Freese-Theriot-Pujols
E - David Freese (12, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Carpenter 7511250 3.59
Kyle McClellan (L,12-7) 1233111 4.22
Mitchell Boggs 1211000 3.66
IBB - Pena by Kyle McClellan
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 93-62, Kyle McClellan 19-9, Mitchell Boggs 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 10-6, Kyle McClellan 1-1, Mitchell Boggs 2-0
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 28, Kyle McClellan 6, Mitchell Boggs 4
Game Information
Attendance - 40355
Game Time - 2:51
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Field Culbreth