WP - Rich Harden (10-2, 5-1) LP - Todd Wellemeyer (12-7) Save - Kerry Wood (30)
What a ballgame! For the first time since Rich Harden last appeared on the mound, August 28th and August 29th, the Cubs put together back-to-back victories and notched their first series win since taking three from the Pirates from August 25th - August 27th. All three games of the series were decided by one run and the difference in the last game of the year in St. Louis was in the field, not at the plate. At Busch Stadium, the Cubs finished the year 5-4.
Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome turned in highlight reel catches in the 8th with the Cubs up by a 3-2 score. Soriano made a diving catch to take away a single, if not more, from Albert Pujols. With the tying and go ahead runs on with 1 out, Fukudome made a leaping catch as he crashed into the wall in right on a ball of the bat of Felipe Lopez. Carlos Marmol struck out Josh Phelps with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The 9th inning was a typical end of a Cubs-Cardinals game. Kerry Wood gave up a lead off double to pinch hitter Brendan Ryan. Cesar Izturis tried to sacrifice the tying run to 3rd but bunted the ball to hard to Derrek Lee. Lee threw a strike to Aramis Ramirez but he could not get the tag down. Ryan was called safe....but he slid past the bag, Ramirez stayed with the play and tagged out Ryan for the first out of the inning.
Skip Schumaker followed with a bloop single to left. With runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out, Wood struck out Aaron Miles swinging on three pitches. Albert Pujols stepped to the plate with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th with the winning run on 1st base.
Wood quickly fell behind Albert Pujols 2-0 then received a questionable call for strike one on an inside pitch. Pujols fouled off the next pitch then popped up to Mark DeRosa in shallow right center to end the game for his 30th save of the season. Game over, CUBS WIN!
Rich Harden pitched another very good game and picked up his 5th win as a Cub. Harden tossed 5 innings of shutout ball before giving up a pair in the 6th after a walk to Aaron Miles, a double by Albert Pujols and a 2-out RBI by Felipe Lopez. Harden struck out 3 on 86 pitches.
The offense sputtered against Cardinals pitching and managed only 7 hits on the night. The Cubs scored 2 runs in the 5th on 3 walks and an error by Albert Pujols and tacked on the third run after consecutive doubles in the 6th by Mark DeRosa and Mike Fontenot. They left nine on base and six in the first 7 innings.
Lou Piniella's crew picked up a huge win against their biggest rival on a night their closest pursuer lost in the City of Brotherly Love. The Cubs are back to 30 games over .500 on the season....