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Cubs rally past Cardinals
Things tend to happen to the Cubs at Busch Stadium that don't happen anywhere else.
Good teams, bad teams, mediocre teams
it doesn't seem to matter. By hook or by crook, they almost always find a way to lose in St. Louis.
But after Tuesday's 5-4 comeback victory over the Cardinals, the Cubs improved to 3-2 at Busch this year, only the second time in the last nine years they have won more than two games in this house of pain.
"Hey man, nothing remains the same," manager Dusty Baker said. "Everything changes. Hopefully this is the start of the change here."
Aramis Ramirez's two-run, two-out double in the eighth off Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen erased a one-run deficit. Moises Alou and Derrek Lee homered for the Cubs, who moved to within one game of the division-leading Cardinals, winning for the ninth time in the last 10 games.
Fittingly, the victory went to Kyle Farnsworth (3-3), who pitched 11/3 perfect innings after entering the game with a 14.40 ERA in 11 career appearances at Busch Stadium.
"I try to block that out," Farnsworth said with a laugh. "I've never really had much good luck here, but all you can do is keep on going out there no matter what.
"I stayed relaxed, kept doing what I've been doing and forgot about the past. Just turn the page. That's what you have to do."
The Cubs turned the page in the eighth when Sammy Sosa drew a two-out walk off Isringhausen with Mark Grudzielanek on second with the tying run. Sosa barely got a piece of a two-strike pitch, keeping the at-bat alive.
"I battled, as always, and had a chance to walk," Sosa said. "That was everything."
Sosa scored the eventual winning run thanks to an aggressive call from third base coach Wendell Kim, sliding past catcher Mike Matheny as the relay throw from second baseman Tony Womack skipped away.
"I put my head down and [ran]," Sosa said. "That's the only play we had anyway, with two outs. I knew I have to score on this one."
Kim said he took into account the fact Womack has a poor arm, which he knew from Womack's brief stint with the Cubs.
"If it was [Jim] Edmonds, that's a whole different situation," Kim said. "Sometimes I gamble, as you guys know, but the players ran hard. If they all do that, it makes it a little easier for everybody."
Greg Maddux was denied an opportunity for his 296th career victory, allowing four runs on nine hits over 62/3 innings. After giving up five singles in the Cardinals' three-run first, Maddux settled down and retired the next 13 hitters he faced.
Ramirez's double off Jason Marquis and an RBI fielder's choice by Corey Patterson put the Cubs on the board in the second, and they tied it up on solo homers by Alou in the fourth and Lee in the seventh.
But with two outs in the seventh, Maddux gave up back-to-back singles to No. 8 hitter Yadier Molina and Marquis, prompting a visit to the mound from Baker. Maddux then fell behind 3-1 on Womack before Womack singled up the middle.
Patterson's throw to the plate was right on target, but catcher Paul Bako let the ball bounce off his glove while trying to make a swipe tag on pinch-runner Hector Luna, making it 4-3.
"I tried to screw it up," Maddux said. "But the guys came back anyway."
LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless ninth, retiring Edmonds on a fly to left to end it.
"It was a big boost," Farnsworth said. "Especially coming in here, doing that, it's a big lift and gives us some positive momentum for the rest of the series."