Albert Pujols's third homer on a testy day at Wrigley Field brought the St. Louis Cardinals all the way back and sent the Chicago Cubs to a crushing defeat. "It was the first time I've hit three home runs and it came at the right time," Pujols said after his shot in the ninth inning helped the Cardinals to an 11-8 comeback victory.
Pujols went 5 for 5 with a double and five RBIs, helping St. Louis rally from a six-run deficit in the final meeting of the season between the heated rivals. The Cardinals left town with a 10-game lead over the third-place Cubs in the NL Central. A day after the teams nearly scuffled, there was more trouble. St. Louis starter Matt Morris threw a fastball behind Corey Patterson in the first, prompting a warning to both benches from plate umpire Tim Tschida.
Cubs reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who gave up Pujols's go-ahead homer, was ejected after he started yelling at Tschida as he walked toward the dugout in the middle of the ninth.
After Pujols hit a two-run drive off Hawkins (2-2) on a hit-and-run play, Reggie Sanders added a solo shot in the three-run ninth as St. Louis roared back after trailing, 7-1.
Jason Isringhausen got three outs for his 24th save in 28 chances, retiring Aramis Ramirez on a shallow fly with the bases loaded to end it.
Phillies 4, Braves 3 -- Bobby Abreu's RBI single in the top of the 10th capped Philadelphia's 30th come-from-behind win of the season and pulled the Phillies back into a first-place tie with Atlanta in the East.
Giants 3, Diamondbacks 1 -- Jerome Williams (9-6) allowed four hits over seven innings plus, outpitching Randy Johnson (10-8) as San Francisco dealt Arizona its ninth straight loss.
Dodgers 7, Astros 5 -- At Houston, Adrian Beltre hit his 25th homer and had three RBIs, leading Los Angeles to its eighth straight win.
Marlins 9, Mets 7 -- Florida blew an early six-run lead at New York, but prevailed behind a homer and three RBIs from Miguel Cabrera.
Padres 9, Rockies 7 -- Ryan Klesko homered and drove in three runs and Khalil Greene had a homer and two RBIS as San Diego pounded out 16 hits in Denver.
Reds 6, Brewers 2 -- Former Yankee Brandon Claussen (1-0) pitched seven impressive innings in his NL debut, and Jason Romano's first homer powered host Cincinnati.
Pirates 2, Expos 1 -- Pittsburgh's Rob Mackowiak slugged a two-run homer and rookie Sean Burnett (4-2) limited visiting Montreal to one run in seven innings to win his fourth straight start.