ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A day after the Arizona Diamondbacks lost Luis
Gonzalez, the World Series champions made it back into the
Edgar Renteria singled home the winning run with two outs in the
ninth inning to give the St. Louis Cardinals a 3-2 victory Tuesday
night that extended Arizona's losing streak to five. But the
Diamondbacks clinched a playoff berth 90 minutes later when Los
Angeles lost to Colorado 1-0.
The NL West-leading Diamondbacks are in the playoffs for the
fourth time in their five-year history.
''Teams go through losing streaks,'' manager Bob Brenly said
before the Dodgers' game ended. ''Unfortunately, this is a bad time
to do it.''
Renteria made a diving stab to keep the ball in the infield, but
the shortstop had trouble controlling it as Little beat the throw
to the plate with a headfirst slide.
Albert Pujols drew a one-out walk from Mike Fetters (3-3) in the
Cardinals ninth and pinch-runner So Taguchi stole second as Ivan
Cruz struck out. Renteria, who's batting .363 with runners in
scoring position, followed with a liner just inside the third-base
''Oh my goodness, he's been unbelievable,'' starter Andy Benes
said. ''I don't think you could put anybody at the plate in a
clutch situation that we'd feel more comfortable with than Edgar.''
Gonzalez, who got the hit that won last year's World Series,
separated his left shoulder and tore ligaments when he collided
with teammate Tony Womack in Monday night's game. He leads the
Diamondbacks with 28 home runs and 103 RBI.
''I don't mean to sound callous or harsh, but it's part of the
game,'' Brenly said. ''We'll get by. We'll do what we have to do.
We think we have enough here to overcome the loss of Luis
Arizona's lead for the home-field advantage in the NL playoffs
was shaved to one game over the NL Central champion Cardinals, who
have won 17 of 20. The teams close their three-game series on
Benes allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings for St.
Louis, allowing only one baserunner past first. He struck out four
and walked two.
Benes lowered his ERA to 2.93, a far cry from mid-April when he
was saddled with a 10.80 ERA and contemplated retirement due to an
arthritic right knee.
Diamondbacks rookie starter John Patterson was even more
effective, allowing only a first-inning infield single by Eli
Marrero in six innings. Patterson, making his first start since
Aug. 4, struck out eight and walked two and allowed only one runner
past first base and wasn't happy about leaving the game.
''My mechanics were starting to break down a little bit and I
didn't have quite the command that last inning,'' Patterson said.
''But I like to compete.''
J.D. Drew, who's struggled with tendinitis in his right knee
that has robbed him of his power, greeted Arizona reliever Matt
Mantei with his 16th homer for a 1-0 lead in the seventh. Drew
began the game in an 0-for-20 slump.
Benes is two strikeouts shy of 2,000 for his career. ...
The Diamondbacks' Chris Donnels, who sustained a mild concussion
when he landed hard making a throw to first on a bunt on Monday,
got an infield hit as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. ... The
Cardinals have an NL-leading 17 victories in September. ... La
Russa won his 600th game in seven seasons with the Cardinals. ...
The Diamondbacks had given up double-digit runs each of the last
three games. ... Colbrunn is 6-for-20 as a pinch hitter with three