Cubs lose after letting big leads slip away

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Edgar Renteria had all the motivation he

''Sometimes, when the game is on the line, I concentrate
better,'' Renteria said after his three-run ninth-inning homer gave
the St. Louis Cardinals a 10-9 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday

Renteria said he wasn't trying to hit a home run off Cubs closer
Antonio Alfonseca.

''I was just looking for a pitch to hit somewhere, I hit it
pretty good,'' Renteria said.

Renteria drove in four runs as the Cardinals came back from a
6-0 deficit after three innings.

The Cardinals entered the ninth trailing 9-4, but Fernando Vina led off the inning with an infield single. A run-scoring double by
pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo scored Vina and a run-scoring single by Jim
Edmonds brought in closer Antonio Alfonseca, who walked Albert
Pujols, struck out J.D. Drew and then gave up an RBI single to Tino

Alfonseca (1-2) then gave up Renteria's towering shot to
left-center to end the game.

Dave Veres (4-6) pitched the final two innings for the victory.

Renteria, a .279 career hitter, is batting .312 this season.

''He's a winning ballplayer who is having a great year,'' St.
Louis manager Tony La Russa said.

Cubs manager Bruce Kimm said he felt responsible for the defeat, but would not be specific about which moves he thought were

''Let's just say I made some mistakes that cost us the game,''
he said.

One of his moves was to remove starter Matt Clement in the sixth
inning after the Cardinals scored their first run and had two
runners on with one out.

Clement had little to say when asked about being removed from
the game. ''He's the manager,'' he said.

Moises Alou and Corey Patterson each drove in three runs for the
Cubs and starter Matt Clement allowed two runs in his first start
since allowing six runs against Philadelphia last Tuesday, but the
Cubs' bullpen let them down.

The Cubs are 3-17 at Busch Stadium since 2000.

After Patterson's three-run homer gave the Cubs a 6-0 lead, the
Cardinals began to chip away.

St. Louis scored four runs in the sixth inning after shortstop
Mark Bellhorn's throwing error.

Edmonds walked and scored from first when Bellhorn threw Pujols'
groundball into right field. Pujols went to third on the error and
Clement was relieved by Jeff Fassero, who gave up a run-scoring double to

Renteria drove in Drew with a single to make the score 6-3.
After Mike DiFelice doubled to send Renteria to third, Kyle
Farnsworth relieved Fassero and walked Kerry Robinson to load the
bases with one out. Vina hit a fly ball to right that got away from
a diving Sammy Sosa to score Renteria and make the score 6-4.

The Cubs scored twice in the first inning to end Morris'
14-inning scoreless streak. Sosa walked and Fred McGriff singled
and both scored on a double by Alou.

Chicago added four more in the third when Alou hit a two-out
single to drive in Sosa, who walked and went to third on a single
by McGriff. Patterson homered to score McGriff and Alou, giving the
Cubs a 6-0 lead.

Morris (12-7) gave up five hits with four walks and four
strikeouts in his four innings, his shortest outing of the year.

The Cubs added two runs in the seventh on a run-scoring single by Todd
Hundley and a sacrifice fly by Farnsworth. Bill Mueller's fourth
home run in the eighth made the score 9-4.

Game notes
Vina's fielding error in the fourth inning made it a
season-high 10 consecutive games by the Cardinals with at least one
error. ... Game-time temperature was 95 degrees. ... Sosa had only
two singles, along with four walks in the series. ... All three
games were sellouts, The Cardinals have sold out their past five
home games. ... Alou was 5-for-12 in the series with six RBI.