Cardinals Stay Mathematically Alive In NL Central Race; Blow Out Cubs

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Cubs Give Up Seven In First Four Innings; Wainwright Wins 20th

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Allan Craig hit a three-run home run and Adam Wainwright  became the National League's second 20-game winner thanks to six sturdy innings of work as St. Louis kept its faint playoff hopes alive with a 7-1 victory over the Cubs in the first of a three-game set.

Wainwright (20-11) yielded a lone run on six hits while walking one and fanning seven and added a run-scoring double to become the Redbirds first 20- game winner since Chris Carpenter won 21 times in 2005.

Albert Pujols went 1-for-2, walked three times and scored twice while Matt Holliday singled, drew two free passes and scored a run for the Cardinals, who trail NL Central leading Cincinnati by seven games and are the same distance behind wild card leader Atlanta with nine games to play.

Tom Gorzelanny (7-9) absorbed the loss after allowing seven runs on seven hits and five walks while fanning four over 3 1/3 innings for the Cubs, who had a five-game win streak over St. Louis snapped and still lead the season series, 8-5.

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Cubs Host Cardinals As Wainwright Aims For 20th Victory

(Sports Network) - Georgia-born right-hander Adam Wainwright makes his second career attempt at 20 victories today when the St. Louis Cardinals visit Wrigley Field for the opener of a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs.

Wainwright was a 19-game winner last season and failed in a season-ending attempt at No. 20 with a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Oct. 2.

He got win No. 19 of 2010 on Sept. 19 against San Diego, allowing five hits and a run in eight innings of the Cardinals' 4-1 defeat of the Padres.

He'd lost five of six decisions heading into that start, a main reason why the Cardinals have plummeted from leading the National League's Central Division in August to facing a 7 1/2-game deficit as the season enters its final 10 games.

The first-place Cincinnati Reds have a magic number of 3 to clinch the division outright. The Reds open a series tonight in San Diego.

Wainwright, a former reliever, is 5-4 lifetime against the Cubs with a 4.26 earned run average in 22 games, including 13 starts.

For Chicago, lefty Tom Gorzelanny returns to the mound for the first time since he was hit with a line drive on the left hand during a Sept. 1 start against Pittsburgh.

Gorzelanny suffered a hairline fracture of his left pinky finger and was sidelined largely because of the swelling the injury caused.

The 28-year-old was 1-3 in five August starts prior to the time off, defeating Atlanta with seven innings of one-run ball while losing to Cincinnati, San Diego and the Reds.

He defeated St. Louis, 6-5, on July 24 and is 2-3 lifetime against the Cardinals in seven starts with a 3.92 ERA.

On Thursday in Pittsburgh, Albert Pujols hit two home runs as St. Louis took a 9-2 win to avoid a three-game sweep at PNC Park.

Pujols finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored while Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a 2-for-3 effort. Holliday drove in one, walked once and scored twice for the Cardinals, who had dropped the first two games of the set and four of five overall.

Jeff Suppan (2-7) went five innings to get the win, as he gave up just one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

In Chicago, Juan Uribe hit a pair of home runs in one inning, including a grand slam during a nine-run second, as San Francisco used a 19-hit attack to dominate the Cubs, 13-0.

Ryan Dempster (14-11), who hadn't surrendered a run over his previous two trips to the mound, gave up nine runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings for the Cubs, who had won seven of eight coming in.

The Cubs have won eight of 12 versus the Cardinals this year, with the clubs splitting six games so far in Chicago.

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Cubs Hope To Hasten Cardinals' Mathematical Elimination From NL Central Race

The Cubs will host the Cardinals for their final home series of 2010 this weekend. The Cardinals' elimination number from the NL Central race is three; if the Cubs can win today and tomorrow and the Reds defeat the Padres tonight, the Cubs could eliminate St. Louis from the race Saturday afternoon. Today, the Cubs' Tom Gorzelanny returns to the starting rotation three weeks after a batted ball hit him in his pitching hand. Adam Wainwright shoots for his 20th win for the Cardinals. The game begins at 1:20 p.m. and will be televised on CSN Chicago.
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