Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez made sure of that Sunday when his eighth-inning bloop single brought in the winning run in a 5-4 victory at Wrigley Field.
Added Joe Girardi, who had a two-run double in the second inning, "I grew up a Cubs fan among all those Cardinals fans in Peoria. I'm sure my dad is happy we won and avoided the sweep."
But until Angel Echevarria led off the eighth with the home run that tied the score 4-4, left-hander Chuck Finley and the Cardinals appeared headed for just that feat.
Finley struck out 12 in seven innings to improve his career strikeout total to 2,594, passing Warren Spahn for 16th place on the all-time list.
Echevarria, subbing for the injured Sammy Sosa, said he was thinking of his three previous at-bats when he led off the eighth.
"My first [at-bat] Finley started me with two fastballs, then two splitters," Echevarria said. "Next, he curved me. I recognized the pattern. My last [at-bat] I got ahead 2-0, so I knew he had to throw me a fastball. I was ready for it."
Echevarria is likely headed back to the bench Monday because Sosa is expected to play in the doubleheader against Milwaukee.
"Sammy Sosa is our superstar, our leader," Echevarria said. "I'm happy I was able to fill in for him and contribute."
Fred McGriff, next up after Echevarria's homer, walked. Rick White replaced Finley. Corey Patterson ran for McGriff and advanced to second on Chris Stynes' sacrifice bunt. That brought up Gonzalez to face White.
"He jammed me. His pitch was in the right spot he wanted," Gonzalez said. "But sometimes things work out for you. Corey got a good jump."
"I almost started to wonder, 'Are we gonna win another game?'" Cubs manager Bruce Kimm said. "They outplayed us the first three games. We needed this. I needed it."