The Redbird Report 07/27

St. Louis Cardinals Chris Duncan tosses the bat after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs to help lead the Redbirds to a much needed win.

Just when everyone seems about to write the Cardinals off, they play as they did Thursday in salvaging the finale of a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs.

There was airtight pitching from Braden Looper, who allowed just one run in seven innings. And there was home run pop from three of the Cardinals' top power hitters.

Albert Pujols snapped an 0-for-11 slump with a three-run homer, his 23rd. Chris Duncan clouted his 20th, a grand slam off former Cardinals right-hander Jason Marquis, highlighting a five-run fifth inning.

And Scott Rolen, who got a cortisone shot for his troublesome left shoulder last week, hit his second homer in four games, a solo shot.

The Cardinals now welcome the Brewers for a four-game series this weekend. They trail Milwaukee by eight games and second-place Chicago by six.

CARDINALS 11, CHICAGO 1: Braden Looper evened his record at 8-8 as he gave up just five hits and one run over seven innings. This marked the first time in five meetings that the Cardinals had beaten the Cubs in St. Louis this year. The teams have eight more games remaining this year, four in each city.


--C Yadier Molina, among the slowest of major league players, swiped third base Thursday, his first steal of the season.

--CF Jim Edmonds batted second. He had been hitting fifth or sixth since coming off the disabled list but hadn't shown much pop there. He had two walks and scored two runs Thursday.

--When the Cardinals play Milwaukee on Friday, they will try to gain just their second win of the season against the Brewers. They are 1-4 in the first five meetings.

--LHP Mike Maroth will make his sixth attempt for his first Cardinals victory Friday against Milwaukee.

BY THE NUMBERS: 21 -- Number of games out of the last 67 that the Cardinals had left with Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I expect to pitch like I've been pitching, not like I was pitching before." -- RHP Adam Wainwright, who gave up only three earned runs over 21 innings in a three-game winning streak after struggling in the first half of the season.

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