- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 25, 2001


CHICAGO (AP) With a five-run lead and the Chicago Cubs struggling to scratch together hits, the St. Louis Cardinals should have been able to enjoy the last few innings.

But in a rivalry as old and heated as this one, nothing's ever that easy.

Although the Cubs rallied for two runs in the seventh and the ninth innings, the Cardinals hung on for a 10-8 victory yesterday.

Craig Paquette and Jim Edmonds drove in three runs each for the Cardinals, who moved back into a tie for second place in the National League Central with the Cubs. Both teams were 3-1/2 games behind Houston.

"I was very nervous the last couple of innings," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "As great as this rivalry is, there have only been so many times this series has included both teams in contention, so it's extra special."

If the Cubs don't regroup soon, they'll find themselves out of contention. In first place as recently as Aug. 15, they've lost 10 of their last 14 games.

Though the Cubs managed 12 hits and at least made things interesting at the end, they stranded 11. They didn't get an extra-base hit until the seventh inning.

"We've got a great team. We've been fighting all year long," said Sammy Sosa, who drove in two runs, one on a sacrifice fly that was just inches from being a homer. He's one home run shy of joining Babe Ruth and Mark McGwire as the only players in history with four 50-homer seasons.

"We've had such a great year and just because we lost one game doesn't mean we're not going to come back."

At least the Cubs aren't quitting. In the ninth, with runners on first and second, Robert Machado doubled down the third base line to drive in Ricky Gutierrez. Pinch-hitter Corey Patterson then hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 10-8.

But Luther Hackman relieved and got Eric Young on a groundout to end the game. It was Hackman's first save in three chances.

In the seventh, Machado and Matt Stairs drove in runs and pinch-hitter Joe Girardi loaded the bases with a two-out single. Young grounded out to end that rally, too.

"It's disappointing, but they're out there trying," Cubs manager Don Baylor said. "That's one thing about this club. We don't give up."

The Cubs looked like they might have a chance with Matt Morris (17-7) struggling with his control. Morris gave up four runs three in the first two innings and six hits in five innings, and tied his season high with four walks. He also hit two batters.

But Morris still managed to match his career high with his fifth straight win, getting a big boost from his teammates in the fifth inning.

Trailing 4-2, the Cardinals battered Jason Bere (8-8) in the fifth, tagging him for four runs before he could even get an out. Fernando Vina led off with a single, and scored all the way from first when Sosa couldn't make a diving catch on Polanco's double to shallow right.

Drew followed with a sacrifice bunt, but Bill Mueller's throw from third was too high for first baseman Fred McGriff. Polanco scored on the error, tying the game.

Edmonds and Paquette drove in runs, and that was it for Bere. David Weathers relieved and got three quick outs, but Edgar Renteria's groundout drove in another run and gave the Cardinals a 7-4 lead.

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