The Chicago Cubs entered tonight’s game trying to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to finish off their 10-game homestand at Wrigley Field, but the visitors did not let it happen.  They handed a 4-3 defeat to the Cubs.

Cubs rookie reliever Brian Schlitter (0-1) gave up a home run to Cardinals third baseman Felipe Lopez in the 11th inning.  The decisive run also handed him the first loss in his major league career.

The game was tie at 3-3 since the sixth inning; neither team could get the winning run until Lopez’s dinger.

The St. Louis Cardinals showed the aggressiveness right at the beginning of the game.  Their right-fielder Ryan Ludwick, who singled and reached second on Albert Pujols’s walk, attempted to run home on Matt Holliday’s fielder’s choice which retired Pujols at second.  But he got caught stealing on a 2-6-2 rundown. 

However, they managed to score first in the second inning.  Center fielder Jon Jay hit a triple off Cubs starter Ryan Dempster.  The following batter, second baseman Skip Schumaker, singled to send Jay home.  He moved to second on Chris Carpenter’s sacrifice bunt and then scored with Brendan Ryan’s single.  The Cardinals led 2-0. 

The Cubs got one back in the fourth.  Derrek Lee doubled on Carpenter’s first pitch and one out later, Marlon Byrd hit a single to score Lee.

The Cubs took the lead for the first time in the fifth by scoring two runs.  Catcher Geovany Soto walked on an eight-pitch at bat facing Chris Carpenter; Ryan Theriot hit a triple to right field to bring Soto home.  Then, two outs later, Theriot scored on a single delivered by Starlin Castro.

The Cardinals’ first home run came from Albert Pujols.  Leading off in the sixth inning, he turned Dempster’s 3-1 count fastball into his 23rd home run of the year. 

They tried to add another run with two outs in the same inning. Schumaker, who finished the night 4-for-4, reached second base on a double.  The Cubs walked Yadier Molina intentionally to face pitcher Carpenter, who hit a single.  Schumaker attempted to score on the play but Marlon Byrd’s precise throw from the center field to the catcher tagged him out at home plate.

Both teams were unable to add runs in the following four innings.  Each of them had their chance to win by loading the bases in the 10th.  However, the Cardinals ended theirs on Molina’s double-play grounder.  The Cardinal reliever Ryan Franklin (5-1) struck out Marlon Byrd of the Cubs to strand Tyler Colvin, Stalin Castro, and Aramis Ramirez on base.

Schlitter, activated from the disabled list Friday, relieved Carlos Marmol in the tenth.  He pitched into the 11th inning to give up the game-winning home run to Felipe Lopez when there were already two outs.

The Cardinals relievers Kyle McClellan and Dennys Reyes shut down the Cubs in the bottom 12th.

Although beating the Cardinals twice and wining two series out of three at home, the Cubs cannot gain any ground in the NL Central division.  They are still 10 games behind the Cardinals and nine games below .500. 

But for the Cardinals, the victory is significant as they regain the top spot of the division, a half-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds. 

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