Cardinals 6, Cubs 2

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright's final tune-up before the National League Division Series couldn't have gone much better.

The St. Louis ace worked 5 1/3 shutout innings Saturday and picked up his 19th win as the Cardinals dumped the Chicago Cubs 6-2 at Busch Stadium.

Wainwright (19-9) allowed just two hits and a walk, striking out five in a 72-pitch outing. He left after retiring Starlin Castro on a fly out to start the sixth, earning a standing ovation from the crowd of 42,520.

St. Louis (95-66) won for the seventh time in eight games and moved a half-game ahead of Atlanta for overall home-field advantage in the NL playoffs. The Braves played Saturday night at home against Philadelphia.

Edwin Jackson (8-18) gave up eight hits and six runs over 2 2/3 innings before leaving with what Chicago called mild right lat discomfort. It was the sixth loss in eight games for the Cubs (66-95).

Matt Holliday gave the Cardinals a 2-0 first-inning lead with his 22nd homer, a two-run blast over the wall in right-center field with Jon Jay aboard. It lifted Holliday to a .300 batting average for the season.

St. Louis blew the game open with four runs in the third. Yadier Molina laced a two-run double to right-center, scoring pinch-runner Shane Robinson and Matt Adams. Pete Kozma ripped a ground-rule double to left-center for a 5-0 lead and Wainwright capped the scoring with an RBI single off the glove of third baseman Donnie Murphy.

The Cardinals, who rested regulars Carlos Beltran and David Freese in their first game after clinching the NL Central title Friday night, pulled most of their other everyday starters by the middle innings.

Chicago scored its first runs of the series in the ninth on Anthony Rizzo's 23rd homer of the year and Donnie Murphy's ground-rule RBI double. Seth Maness retired Darwin Barney on a double play ball to garner his first big-league save.

NOTES: St. Louis will start RHP Jake Westbrook in Sunday's regular-season finale and follow up with RHP Joe Kelly, a candidate to start in the NL Division Series. Westbrook, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 6, is unlikely to return to the team next year. ... Chicago starters Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood are the first Cubs teammates to reach 200 innings in the same year since Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly did it for the 2008 NL Central champions. Samardzija will start tomorrow's season finale. ... Beltran (right wrist) sat out Saturday's game and was replaced by Adron Chambers, who made his first start of the season. Beltran is expected to play in the NLDS.
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