Cubs 9, Cardinals 7

By Chris Rewers on Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hero: Derrek Lee hit two solo home runs to straightaway center before being removed because of back spasms. He's walloped four of his 16 home runs on the season in the last three games.

St. Louis Cardinals radio broadcaster Rick Horton discussed Lee's rejection of a trade to the Los Angeles Angels last month and called it "commendable."

"Lee is a wonderful person," Horton said. "He loves playing in Chicago and wants to return to the Cubs next year and help them turn things around. You have to love his attitude. He wants to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem."

Huh?

The 34-year-old Lee is a great guy, but he has been a big part of the problem this season. If Lee and Aramis Ramirez had given the Cubs anything close to their typical production earlier in the season, when the games still mattered, the North Siders likely would be contending with the Cardinals and Reds for the NL Central championship instead of playing out the string.

Goat: Rookie Marcos Mateo, completing his first week in the major leagues, nearly enabled the Cardinals to overcome a seven-run ninth inning deficit.

Steven Hill led off with his first major league home run. Nick Stavinoha and Aaron Miles followed with singles, and Brendan Ryan walked to load the bases. Mateo was given the hook, but the St. Louis rally continued. James Russell struck out Skip Schumaker and walked Jon Jay to force in a run. Closer Carlos Marmol earned his 21st save, but not before allowing a two-run single to Felipe Lopez and an RBI groundout to Allen Craig.

Key Play: Koyie Hill's two-run double off Kyle Lohse (1-5) produced the first two runs in the Cubs' six-run fourth. Hill, now hitting .220, is 9-for-27 (.333) during his current seven-game hitting streak.

Comments: The Cubs (50-68) won back-to-back games for the first time since July 23-24 - also against St. Louis (65-51) - and earned a series victory for the first time since taking two of three from the Cardinals at Wrigley Field on July 23-25.

Albert Pujols hit his 30th home run of the season in the first inning to become the first player in major league history to hit 30 or more homers in each of his first 10 seasons. It was the 395th career homer for Pujols and his 46th against the Cubs - more than against any other opponent.

Next: The San Diego Padres (69-47) bring the best record in the National League and a 3.5-game lead over second-place San Francisco in the NL West as they open a four-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday (WGN, 7:05 p.m.).

The Padres are 33-25 on the road this season and have had just one three-game losing streak (May 14-16) in 2010.

Right-hander Kevin Correia (9-7, 4.86 ERA) will start for the Padres against Cubs lefty Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 3.65). Gorzelanny is 3-4 with a 4.02 ERA in nine starts at Wrigley Field this season. Opposing hitters are hitting .254 against Gorzelanny at the Friendly Confines this season and .244 in other ballparks.

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