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Jenkins lifts Brewers over Cards with walk-off homer

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Geoff Jenkins saw the sign begging the Brewers
to keep him, then stated his case.

With his future uncertain, Jenkins homered off Tyler Johnson
leading off the ninth inning Wednesday night to back a four-hitter
by rookie Carlos Villanueva and two relievers in Milwaukee's 1-0
victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jenkins, in his ninth year with Milwaukee, lost his starting
right-field job on Aug. 11. He has one guaranteed year left in his
contract -- he is owed $7 million -- and may not be part of the
team's plans for 2007.

"I know I've got a big support group," said Jenkins, who was
aware of the "Keep Jenkins" sign just behind him in right field.
"It's definitely nice when you see that from the fans. It's pretty
awesome. And they get a baseball, too."

St. Louis lost for the sixth time in 11 games, but the
Cardinals' magic number to clinch the NL Central dropped to five
when second-place Cincinnati lost to Houston 7-2.

Jenkins, batting .477 with six homers and 10 RBI in September,
hit his 16th home run of the season, a drive to right off Johnson
(0-3).

"Mistakes happen," Johnson said. "I left that slider right
over the plate, right in his swing."

It was Milwaukee's fourth game-ending home run this season
and the second of Jenkins' career.

"There's no better feeling than when you're coming off third
base after a walkoff homer and see your teammates waiting on you,"
Jenkins said. "There's probably not a too much more gratifying
feeling as a player."

Villanueva, who earned his first major league victory in relief
on Friday against Washington, made his fourth big league start. He
allowed three hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked
one.

"Their rookie had command of all his pitches," Cardinals
manager Tony La Russa said. "We couldn't do anything
offensively."

In the seventh, Villanueva finished his night by getting Ronnie
Belliard to swing and miss wildly at a changeup, then throwing a 91
mph fastball on the inside corner for a called third strike.

"My changeup, as the game went on, got better as they got a
little bit more aggressive," Villanueva said. "When I was behind
in the count, I could go to my changeup and it worked pretty
well."

Chris Spurling pitched a one-hit eighth, and Francisco Cordero
(3-0) threw a perfect ninth, lowering his ERA to 0.42 in 22
appearances since the Brewers acquired him from Texas on July 28.

Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan gave up six hits in seven innings,
struck out four and walked one.

"He did everything he could," La Russa said.

The teams combined for six double plays, with Milwaukee hitting
into double plays that ended the first, third and sixth innings.

Milwaukee had two on with two outs in the eighth before catcher
Yadier Molina picked off Corey Hart at first with Jenkins in an 0-2
hole.

The Cardinals' first four hitters went 1-for-15 and Albert
Pujols, who came in with 10 hits in his prior 17 at-bats, went
0-for-4.

"The first two times I got him out with a changeup,"
Villanueva said. "He's one of my idols. When you step between the
white lines, you can't think about that."

Game notes
Jenkins prior game-ending homer was May 29, 1998, against
Florida. ... Brewers RHP Rick Helling is to have surgery Thursday
on his left knee to repair torn cartilage. ... St. Louis has won
the last six season series against the Brewers and is 7-5 this
year. The Cardinals finish the regular season with a four-game set
against Milwaukee. ... Cardinals RF Preston Wilson snapped an
0-for-10 streak with a single in the fourth.