Cubs 5, Cardinals 1
Ryan Dempster kept it close, setting the stage for Alfonso
Soriano’s big hit. He’s finishing the year strong, even though the
numbers don’t reflect it.
The Chicago Cubs starter worked six strong innings in a 5-1
victory Friday night that dealt the St. Louis Cardinals’ wild-card
hopes a serious blow, dropping them three games behind the Atlanta
It’s Dempster’s fifth quality start in five tries this month and
he expects to top 200 innings in his final outing, although he’s a
deceptive 0-3 with a 3.34 ERA in September.
”I’m just trying to finish as strong as I can, and every time
out give us a chance to win a ballgame,” Dempster said. ”I’ve
been on teams that lost 100-something games in a year, so the more
games I can help us win that’s the most important thing.”
The Cardinals defeat also clinched the NL Central for
”I knew it was going to be tough, but you always know that when
you’re facing this team,” Dempster said. ”They’re always
prepared, they’re always ready and they’ve got a bunch of good
Chris 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 hit a three-run
tiebreakikng homer off Kyle McClellan (12-7). Starlin Castro added
an RBI single off Mitchell Boggs in the ninth.
”He’s gotten some big hits and RBIs in the last month and a
half for us,” manager Mike Quade said. ”He’s hit a lot of them,
it’s not like he hit his 12th.”
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.
”We’re not worried about if its St. Louis or Atlanta who makes
the playoffs,” Soriano said. ”I hope the Cardinals make the
playoffs but they have to work hard because nothing is given in
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 three double plays, the last in the
eighth after getting two hits off Jeff Samardzija (8-4), and lead
the major leagues with 165. They’re one shy of their own NL record
set in 1958.
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’
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
Castro’s among 10 players to reach 200 hits at age 21 years or
younger during the modern era and the first since Alex Rodriguez
for Seattle in 1995. Others on the list are Garry Templeton of St.
Louis (1977), Vada Pinson of Cincinnati (1959), Al Kaline of
Detroit (1955), Buddy Lewis of Washington (1937), Joe Dimaggio of
the Yankees (1936), Hal Trosky of Cleveland (1934), Lloyd Waner of
Pittsburgh (1927) and Ty Cobb of Detroit (1907).
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 RBIs against McClellan, hit his first
homer since Aug. 30 into the visitors’ bullpen in left.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on two
walks and a single. 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
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