St. Louis, MO – Carlos Marmol walked in a run and let the 1 victory against the Chicago Cubs.
The win gave a big boost to the Cardinals' postseason hopes. Because of Atlanta's 4-1 loss in Washington on Saturday, St. Louis pulled within two games of the Braves for the National League wild card lead.
Both the Cardinals and Braves have only four games left, making every result important.
"Let's cut to the chase here, we have to win every single game," said Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker. "So this was as big as any single game."
Saturday's victory was also a wild one for the Cardinals, who had trailed the whole game after Alfonso Soriano hit a run-scoring single in the first inning.
But in the ninth, Matt Holliday started the rally with a one-out single against Marmol (2-6). Pinch-runner Tyler Greene stole second and moved to third when he was hit by catcher Geovany Soto's throw.
With the tying run on third base, Marmol struck out David Freese and walked Yadier Molina, who was replaced on the bases by Adron Chambers. Marmol walked Schumaker on five pitches to load the bases, then ran a 3-1 count to Ryan Theriot.
He managed to get another pitch over the plate, but his sixth pitch to Theriot was out of the zone, forcing in Greene with the tying run.
The Cardinals won the game when Marmol hooked a pitch inside to Rafael Furcal, forcing him to step back from his batting stance. The ball flew past Soto, bouncing off the backstop toward third base as Chambers crossed the plate with his arms raised and teammates streaming out of the dugout.
Cubs manager Mike Quade said Marmol had used his fastball well during his last few appearances, but couldn't control it Saturday.
"Got a couple outs, got ahead in the count with it, but just wasn't consistent with that or the slider," Quade said. "It's a tough nut when you're trying to protect a one-run lead and you're struggling with both pitches."
Marmol's 10th blown save of the season ruined a good performance by the rest of the Cubs' pitching staff. Starter Rodrigo Lopez gave up four hits and two walks in six innings, while Andrew Cashner and Sean Marshall each threw a scoreless inning.
The Cardinals' rally took starter Kyle Lohse off the hook. Lohse allowed the run and six hits in seven innings, while striking out eight.
He gave up the run after Darwin Barney and Bryan LaHair hit one-out singles to put runners on the corners. Soriano's two-out liner to left put the Cubs in front.
LaHair had a game-high two hits...After the conclusion of this three-game series Sunday, St. Louis heads to Houston for three games, starting Monday...Marmol had converted his last three save chances.