The Chicago Cubs put the St. Louis Cardinals’ post season hopes in serious jeopardy, downing the Redbirds 5-3 Friday night at Busch Stadium.

The Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the 9 th inning, with each team hitting a home run. Albert Pujols hit his 31 st for the Cards, while Cliff Floyd belted his 8 th for Chicago.

The Cubs then put 3 runs across the plate in the top of the 9 th . St. Louis made a valiant comeback effort in the bottom of the inning, with Jim Edmonds slamming his 12 th home run and Ryan Ludwick smacking his 13 th – both solo shots. But the Cardinals could get no closer.

Carlos Zambrano (16-12) pitched 8 innings for the win, allowing only 1 earned run on 4 hits. Adam Wainwright (13-11) took the loss, giving up 2 earned runs on 5 hits in 7 innings.

The Cardinals (69-76) have now lost 8 games in a row. They’re now 6 games behind the Cubs and 4 ½ behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central Division.

St. Louis and Chicago play a day/night doubleheader Saturday at Busch. In the first game, Braden Looper (12-10) takes the mound for the Cardinals against Chicago’s Ted Lilly (15-7). In the nightcap, the Cards send Joel Pineiro (5-4) to the mound against Chicago’s Sean Marshall (7-7).