Chicago, IL – David DeJesus had four hits on Friday, including a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning, and the Chicago Cubs rallied late to edge the playoff-hopeful St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4, in the opener of a three-game series at rainy Wrigley Field.
Darwin Barney sent the game into extra innings with a two-out, two-run homer off Fernando Salas in the bottom of the ninth, robbing Chris Carpenter of a win in his season debut.
Carpenter hadn't appeared on a big-league mound since winning Game 7 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers last October. The veteran right- hander wasn't expected to pitch this season after shoulder issues led to a surgical procedure in July.
Instead, Carpenter held the Cubs to a pair of runs over five innings in his return. He threw 77 pitches and left with a 3-2 lead.
"My stuff wasn't as sharp as I'd like and it wasn't as sharp as it has been but I did the best I could to get as many outs as I could and give us a chance," said Carpenter. "It was fun to get back out there."
Daniel Descalso tacked on an eighth-inning RBI double for the Cardinals while Shelby Miller, Sam Freeman, Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica held Chicago off the board before giving way to Salas in the ninth.
After two quick outs, DeJesus kept the Cubs alive with a bloop single and Barney fell behind 1-2 before sending a fastball deep and gone to left field.
Alberto Cabrera (1-1) faced the minimum in the 11th and Wellington Castillo led off the home half with a single before pinch-runner Brett Jackson moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt and fly out.
DeJesus then ripped an 0-2 changeup from Joe Kelly (5-7) through the right side of the infield to halt Chicago's four-game slide.
"It's good for us to beat a team like them," said Barney. "The atmosphere was fun. It's good playing games that matter."
The Cardinals, meanwhile, saw their four-game win streak come to an end. They now hold a 1 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee for the NL's final wild card spot after the Brewers rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday.
Yadier Molina had a two-out, first-inning RBI single in the setback and Allen Craig added a sac fly in the third for a 2-0 lead.
DeJesus and Barney helped the Cubs even the score in the bottom half, with the former ripping a leadoff triple and the latter following with a run-scoring single.
Two batters later, Barney scored on Alfonso Soriano's 31st double of the season.
Pete Kozma put St. Louis back on top a half-inning later when he led off with a triple and stole home during Descalso's at-bat. The rookie shortstop broke on Chris Volstad's pitch as Descalso squared to bunt, and crossed the plate when the ball popped out of Castillo's mitt.
Volstad, who will turn 26 on Sunday, was charged with three runs on six hits over five innings in the no-decision. He walked three, did not record a strikeout, and grounded out Kozma with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
Carpenter tossed a 90-pitch simulated game last Saturday ... St. Louis leads the season-series, 8-7 ... Soriano has a season high-tying 104 RBI ... The Cardinals went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.