The Cardinals and Chicago Cubs had last at-bat wins in all three games of their thrilling, three-game weekend series, which was played as if there was a pennant race at stake. There was, but for only one team, the Cardinals, whose magic number is just four after they won the first two games of the series before losing the finale.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, after his club had lost in 11 innings Sunday night, said, "It was a hellacious effort. Came up a little short. It's a tough loss. But we played 'til the end, played as hard as we could, as good as we could. Turn the page."
The staccato delivery from La Russa suggested that he wasn't entirely pleased with Sunday's developments, including an interference call on left fielder Matt Holliday, who was ruled to have gone outside the line in breaking up a double play in the ninth inning when it appeared the Cardinals had won the game when the relay throw to first was off line.
Holliday had been just hit by a pitch, and La Russa said he told umpire Marty Foster, who made the call at second, "It happens a lot when guys get hit by a pitch, they want to take the pivot man out. They usually get a little room to vent their anger."
But La Russa added, "Not in a game-winning or game-losing place. We didn't celebrate very long."
Right-hander Adam Wainwright has little margin for error now in trying to win 20 games, not that he made that many errors on Sunday. Wainwright gave up only two earned runs in seven innings and struck out 10, marking the second time he had fanned at least that many in his career.
Wainwright has two starts remaining. "Got to win 'em both now," he said. "But I've got to win 19 first. I'm tired of thinking and hearing about 20. I've got to get 19 first."
CUBS 6, CARDINALS 3 (11 innings): RHP Mitchell Boggs, the seventh Cardinals pitcher, took the loss when he gave up a two-run homer to LF Jake Fox in the 11th inning. "I made a bad pitch," said Boggs. "I've got to learn from it." The Cardinals' magic number for clinching the National League Central title remained at four.
1B Albert Pujols' run-scoring double in the fifth Sunday was significant for two reasons. One was that the RBI was the 1,105th of his career, tying him with 1B Jim Bottomley for third on the all-time Cardinals rolls. Bottomley is a Hall of Famer, as are No. 1 Stan Musial (1,951) and No. 2 Enos Slaughter (1,148). The double also was Pujols' 40th of the season, marking the sixth time he has reached that figure in his nine years.
3B Troy Glaus,
who has had an oblique injury, was told by manager Tony La Russa that he won't
be making the nine-game trip to
By The Numbers:
Quote To Note:
"It's better to do it right now than at the end of this month, when we're going into something that hopefully we're going into."
—RHP Ryan Franklin, on the Cardinals' week-long swoon a couple of weeks before the playoffs would begin.
RHP Kyle Lohse,
plagued by an assortment of injuries, notably a flexor problem in his forearm,
will make only his second start since Aug. 21 when he pitches at
C Yadier Molina, who had four steals in his first five seasons, stole his ninth base of the season, tying the Cardinals' club record for catchers held by Eli Marrero, Tom Pagnozzi and Tim McCarver. "They don't pay attention to me," he said, "because I'm not a fast runner."
RHP Ryan Franklin, who had gained victories in each of the previous two games while blowing a save in one, was given the night off. He will be available again on Monday.
3B Troy Glaus (pulled left oblique muscle) was injured Sept. 12 and is out indefinitely.
RHP Kyle Lohse (sore right forearm) missed his Sept. 19 start but is scheduled to return Sept. 21.