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NL: Cubs force Cards to hold off on hoopla

By Associated Press
Published September 17, 2005

CHICAGO - There was disappointment, frustration. Beyond that, there was patience in the Cardinals' clubhouse because the players realize the celebration is coming.

One day after the Cardinals clinched their fourth Central title in six years, the champagne remained corked again after Friday's 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

While the Cardinals would win the division on a tiebreaker over second-place Houston if both teams finish with 94 wins, St. Louis refuses to celebrate until it is assured of more wins than the Astros.

"Eventually, it's going to happen," third baseman Abraham Nunez said.

The Cardinals planned to celebrate after today's game if the second-place Astros lost to Milwaukee on Friday, but Houston won.

"Hopefully, they don't have me come over and clean it up," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Jeromy Burnitz was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including the go-ahead two-run single in the fifth, and Derrek Lee hit his 44th homer.

Glendon Rusch allowed three runs and seven hits in 62/3 innings and left with a runner on first. Michael Wuertz allowed a single to Albert Pujols but struck out Nunez.

Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 30 attempts.

PHILLIES 13, MARLINS 3: Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a two-run homer that Juan Encarnacion nearly caught, then added a two-run double to help visiting Philadelphia.

The Phillies, starting a nine-game trip, won for the fifth time in six games. They remained one-half game behind wild-card leader Houston, and the Marlins fell 11/2 games back.

Rollins scored three times and went 3-for-5, hiking his average to .279. Teammate Kenny Lofton singled five times in six at-bats.

REDS 8-4, PIRATES 2-5: Freddie Sanchez singled over a drawn-in infield to score Craig Wilson with the winning run, and host Pittsburgh scored twice in the ninth for a 5-4 victory and a doubleheader split. Cincinnati won the first game 8-2.

Cincinnati first baseman Sean Casey sustained a concussion after a collision with Humberto Cota in the first game, in which Felipe Lopez went 5-for-5, stole two bases and drove in two runs to help the Reds hand rookie Zach Duke his first major-league loss. The Reds said a CT scan at a Pittsburgh hospital was normal, and Casey had a headache and neck soreness.

METS 4, BRAVES 0: Pedro Martinez threw his 17th career shutout, outpitching John Smoltz and East-leading Atlanta in their fourth meeting.

Martinez struck out 10 for host New York to pass Hall of Famer Jim Bunning for 14th place on the career list with 2,860.

Martinez's third-inning strikeout of Smoltz was his 200th of the season, the first Met to reach that total since Al Leiter in 2000. His biggest jam was in the ninth, after a double by Rafael Furcal and a single by Marcus Giles put runners on first and third with nobody out.

ASTROS 2, BREWERS 1: Jeff Bagwell hit a run-scoring single in the ninth to lift Houston.

The host Astros won their third straight game to remain a half-game ahead of Philadelphia in the wild-card race, while Florida fell to 11/2 games back with the loss to the Phillies.

With the score 1-1, Mike Lamb and Lance Berkman hit consecutive singles off Dana Eveland. After Jason Lane struck out and Jose Vizcaino fouled out, Bagwell pinch-hit for Brad Lidge and drove in pinch-runner Willy Taveras.

NATIONALS 5, PADRES 1: John Patterson threw a three-hitter for his second career complete game and visiting Washington chased ace Jake Peavy after six innings. The Padres have lost five of six. This is the latest in a season a team has led a division with a losing record.

GIANTS 5, DODGERS 4: Todd Linden replaced Barry Bonds and singled in the winning run with one out in the ninth for host San Francisco. Bonds homered in the first and was pulled after the eighth. Pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee hit a tying two-run single in the eighth for the Dodgers, but Linden came up with a big hit off Duaner Sanchez that scored pinch-runner Doug Clark from second.

ROCKIES 6, D'BACKS 5: Danny Ardoin hit a tiebreaking homer leading off the eighth for visiting Colorado. Rockies starter Zach Day had his right thumb broken when Craig Counsell lined his second pitch back to the mound.

[Last modified September 17, 2005, 02:15:31]

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