Cubs 7, Cardinals 3

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hero: Tyler Colvin became the fourth Cubs rookie to hit 20 or more home runs in a season. The other members of the exclusive club are Walt "Moose" Moryn with 23 in 1956, Billy Williams (25, 1961), and Geovany Soto (23, 2008).

Goat: Marcos Mateo entered the game with the Cubs leading 5-2 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and a St. Louis runner on first. The right-hander walked Albert Pujols and gave up an RBI double to Matt Holliday. Fortunately, James Russell relieved Mateo and bailed him out by striking out Colby Rasmus.

Key Play: Colvin's three-run homer to right with one out in the top of the seventh off Chris Carpenter (15-7) gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.

Comments: In perhaps the team's sweetest series in two years, the Cubs (65-81) completed a three-game series sweep of the Cardinals (74-70) - a team that desperately needed to win all three games. The Cubs essentially pounded three nails into the Cards' coffin, dropping them eight games behind the first-place Reds with just 18 games left to play. It was the Cubs' first three-game sweep in St. Louis since June 10-12, 1988.

Carlos Zambrano (9-6), who has re-established himself as the staff ace, improved to 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA in eight starts since returning to the rotation on Aug. 9. Zambrano allowed two runs - one earned - on four hits in six innings while striking out three and walking three. Two of Carpenter's four losses at Busch Stadium this year have come in Zambrano victories. It seemed outlandish a few weeks ago, but Big Z very well could be the Cubs' 2011 Opening Day starter against Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field on April 1.

In recording his 31st save of the season, Carlos Marmol struck out both batters whom he faced. Marmol has struck out 122 in 69 1/3 innings giving him a phenomenal ratio of 15.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Aramis Ramirez (2-for-4) hit his 23rd homer of the season with a man on in the eighth.

The Cubs are now 14-7 under the direction of interim manager Mike Quade who is making a strong case for becoming the team's 2011 skipper.

Next: After an off day Thursday, the Cubs will try to extend their role against the Florida Marlins (73-72) in South Florida on Friday (CSN, 6:10 p.m.).

Ryan Dempster (13-10, 3.62 ERA), who has won eight of his 12 road decsions this season, will oppose Florida rookie right-hander Alex Sanabia (4-2, 3.95). Sanabia will return from a five-game suspension for his involvement in a brawl with Washington on Sept. 1.

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