The Cardinals were feeling the effects of Troy Glaus being out of the starting lineup in the second inning when Felipe Lopez made two errors that lead to three unearned runs in a four run output as the Cubs beat St. Louis 4-3.
The first run came after Braden Looper gave up three straight singles to the 6-7-8 hitters of Chicago. With runners on first and second, Cub pitcher Ted Lilly laid down a bunt that was picked up by Molina who threw down to third to get the lead runner, but Lopez came off the base before he caught the ball. Then Soriano hit a ground ball to Lopez who dove to his left, but his throw to get Lilly at second went wide and two more runs scored with Lilly advancing to third. After a ground out, Lilly tried to score on a Derrek Lee ground ball, but was thrown out after colliding with Yadier Molina. Molina would later leave with an upper thigh bruise. Looper then walked the bases loaded, but got Kosuke Fukodome to strike out looking on a full count.
In the bottom of the third, the Cardinals rallied with two outs off a bloop single by Cesar Izturis, his second of the game and an infield hit by Felipe Lopez giving Albert Pujols the opportunity to tie the game again, but instead of homering, he came through with a single to left…the problem was Alfonso Soriano gunned down Izturis at the plate to kill the rally.
Looper’s night would finish after five innings having just allowed the one earned run, but he threw 106 pitches while giving up eight hits and walking one to go with his four strikeouts.
In the 9 th , Pujols doubled after closer Kerry Wood struck out Felipe Lopez. Ryan Ludwick followed with a 2-1 pitch that just cleared the wall in right center, just a few feet further than where Pujols hit his double and the Cards pulled to within 4-3. For Ludwick, that was his 33 rd of the year tying Pujols for the team lead. Wood recovered to strike out Aaron Miles looking and Josh Phelps to fly to center ending the drama.
Making his debut was Josh Kinney in his first appearance since October 1 st of 2006, after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Kinney got two groundouts around a strikeout.
As for Cubs’ starter Ted Lilly, after that one run and help from Soriano, he held the Cardinals to just five hits on an efficient 90 pitches in eight innings of work.
With the loss, Houston passes the Cardinals for third in the division as the Astros win again, plus the Cardinals drop another game in the wild card to Milwaukee who won earlier in the day, dropping them five back.