Cubs 6, Cardinals 5

By Chris Rewers on Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hero: Starlin Castro went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and a double to raise his average to .308. The 20-year-old rookie shortstop has hit safely in 21 of his last 24 games and is 34-for-94 (.362) over that span.

Goat: Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Key Plays: The Cardinals, who were trailing 6-4, mounted a serious threat in the eighth inning against Cubs rookie right-hander Andrew Cashner. Ryan Ludwick and Yadier Molina singled and Ludwick scored when Ryan Theriot made a fielding error on a routine grounder by Brendan Ryan. But Cashner regrouped as pinch-hitter Randy Winn flew out to center fielder Marlon Byrd and Tyler Greene rolled into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Comments: The Cubs, who have won six of nine on the current homestand, ended a streak of 10 straight series losses against NL Central opponents. Their last series victory against a division opponent came when they swept a three-game set at Milwaukee on April 23-25.

Tyler Colvin led off the bottom of the first with a home run for the second straight game - the first Cub to accomplish the feat since Soriano on May 13-14, 2008. Colvin's 15 homers this season are the most by a left-handed-hitting Cubs rookie since Mel Hall's 17 in 1983. Billy Williams, with 25 in 1961, owns the club record.

Next: Completing a three-game series sweep of the first-place Cardinals (54-44) on Sunday (ESPN, 7:05 p.m.) will not be an easy task for the Cubs (45-53) as St. Louis starts ace Chris Carpenter (11-3, 3.05 ERA) against Ryan Dempster (8-7, 3.70).

Carpenter earned a victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 28 after allowing just one run - on a Colvin homer - in 6 2/3 innings. Carpenter is 10-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 career starts against the North Siders. He is 7-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 11 career starts at Wriley Field.

Dempster, who was pounded by the Cardinals for six runs in 6 2/3 innings in a loss on May 30, is 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA in four July outings.

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