Homers by Tyler Colvin and Aramis Ramirez and another Carlos Zambrano’s strong outing helped the team to win 7-3 in the three-game series finale.
It has been two nights in a row that the Cubs knocked the top two Cardinals aces out of the game. Last night, it was Adam Wainwright. Tonight, it was Chris Carpenter’s turn.
The first run of the game belonged to the Cubs. Carpenter (15-7) gave up a single to Koyie Hill who stole second and was brought home later by Blake DeWitt’s sacrifice fly.
Zambrano (9-6) stepped in the mound for the Cubs in quest of his sixth win in a row. He encountered the Cardinals’ first run of the game in the third inning; Colby Rasmus hit a sacrifice fly to score lead-off Skip Schumaker from third. It was an unearned run for the Big Z due to second baseman DeWitt’s error earlier in the play.
The Cubs ace conceded his second and last run in the sixth. Rasmus initiated the inning with a double, his second hit of the night. Felipe Lopez’s sacrifice bunt moved him to third and Yadier Molina drove him home with the Cardinals’ second sacrifice fly of the night. The Cardinals were ahead 2-1.
Zambrano tossed 104 pitches in six frames giving up one earned run with four hits. His ERA dropped to 3.75, a significant 1.71 point of improvement before his current six-game winning streak.
It was in the top of seventh when the Cubs decided to take the lead; they scored four runs to overcome a one-run deficit.
Ramirez led off with a double to right field corner and moved to third on Xavier Nady’s line-drive single to third base. Carpenter struck out Alfonso Soriano but gave up Tyler Colvin’s home run No. 20 of the year, a long three-run shot over the right field wall.
Koyie Hill extended the inning with a double and scored on pinch-hitter Micah Hoffpauir’s long double to right-field corner for the Cubs’ fifth run. Carpenter was forced to leave the game with what appeared to be a leg injury when a relay ball bounced off his right leg near the third base line. DeWitt and Darwin Barney were struck out by reliever Jason Motte to end the inning.
Two more insurance runs were added in the eighth. Thanks to Ramirez’s 23rd home run of the year. Marlon Byrd doubled off second reliever Blake Hawksworth who delivered a 0-2 count changeup to Ramirez which was golfed out over left field.
The Cardinals rallied in the ninth when they were down by four runs. After Aaron Miles’ fly-out, Andrew Cashner gave up two singles in a row to Skip Schumaker and Randy Winn.
Closer Carlos Marmol came in in a save situation but hit Albert Pujols on his first pitch to help the Cardinals load the bases. However, he escaped unhurt earning his 31st save of the year by striking out Matt Holliday and Rasmus.
Before tonight, the Cubs’ last sweep in St. Louis was in a series of June 10-12, 1988 in the old Busch Stadium. The Cubs also edge their archrivals by 5-1 this year in St. Louis. They will face each other next week in Wrigley Field for the last time in 2010.
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