- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: David DeJesus hit a game-ending single in the bottom of the 11th inning. Darwin Barney sent the game into extra innings with his two-out, two-strike, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth. Chris Volstad gave up three runs but needed 116 pitches just to get through five innings. The Cubs got even in the third inning on RBI hits from Barney and Alfonso Soriano. It was the 104th RBI for Soriano this season, tying his career best from 2005 when he played for the Texas Rangers. The Cardinals grabbed the lead again in the fourth on a straight steal of home from Pete Kozma.
What it means: The Cubs are back to embracing their spoiler role. A day after the Cincinnati Reds won at Wrigley Field to clinch a playoff spot, the Cubs made sure the Cardinals couldn’t strengthen their position in the wild-card race. If the season ended today, the Cardinals would be the National League’s second wild card team. But while one rival is bummed, another is happy. The Milwaukee Brewers opened the day as the Cardinals’ closest pursuer, 2½ games back.
Outside the box: When the Cardinals’ Kozma describes his straight steal of home to his grandkids one day, it might end up sounding more exciting than what really happened. After a leadoff triple in the fourth inning, Kozma broke for home on an attempted squeeze by Daniel Descalso. On a high pitch from Volstad, though, Descalso failed to make contact. But Cubs catcher Welington Castillo couldn’t corral the pitch. Because Kozma had already broke for home he got credit for the steal and Castillo was not charged with the passed ball.
Off beat: It’s gotten so bad for Bryan LaHair that even when it does seem like he’s about to get a chance to play, he doesn’t play. The left-handed hitting LaHair was called on to pinch hit in the sixth inning so the Cardinals went to rookie left-handed reliever Sam Freeman. So manager Dale Sveum hit for LaHair with the right-handed hitting Josh Vitters, who struck out swinging.
Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Travis Wood (6-12, 4.25 ERA) to the mound against St. Louis on Saturday in the middle game of a three-game series. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Adam Wainwright (13-13, 3.97) in the 12:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.
2dJohn Jackson, Special to ESPN.com