Chicago Cubs' manager Lou Piniella chose to let starter Ryan Dempster pitch to Cardinals' slugger Albert Pujols. That decision is something he definitely regrets. Pujols took Dempster deep in the sixth inning for a three-run homer to tie the game at three apiece.
The score stayed that way until shortstop Cesar Izturis had an "excuse-me" swing that allowed Brendan Ryan to score from third.
The Cardinals have been playing pretty well of late and are now just four games out of the NL Wild Card spot.
After Dempster pitched solidly through five, he let two baserunners on before recording an out, and then Pujols came up with his blast.
Pujols ended the night 2-for-4 to extend his lead in the NL batting race.
The bullpen, though, perhaps saved the day for the Redbirds. Three innings of shutout ball gave the Cardinals a chance for the ninth-inning heroics.
As announcer Rick Horton said, "One swing can change it," and it certainly seemed that way after Pujols' jack.
Manager Tony La Russa was excited after the game, but realized that the squad still has several steps to clear before they can fully be contenders in the Wild Card race.
It was also very impressive how well starter Kyle Lohse kept churning after giving up two runs in the first inning and another in the third. From then on, though, Lohse did not surrender any runs while tossing 5.1 innings.
The Redbirds face the Cubbies again tomorrow night at Busch Stadium in the second game of the three-game set.
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