CHICAGO (AP) -- The distractions about Dusty Baker are over for
Todd Walker and Michael Barrett hit back-to-back homers, the
fourth time Chicago did it this week, and the Cubs beat the St. Louis CardinalsSt. Louis Cardinals for the seventh time in 10 games this season, a 5-4
victory Thursday night.
Before the game, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Baker will
be the manager for the rest of the season.
Baker is in the fourth and final year of his contract for the
"I'm glad to see he got a vote of confidence and the coaches
will be here and we can go out there just worrying about focusing
on playing games and not have to talk about their situation for the
rest of they year like we have been talking about all year,"
closer Ryan Dempster said.
Baker hopes his new job security will take the pressure off his
"I hope it relieves my team's mind as much as anything. Let's
go play baseball, that's the main thing," Baker said. "We have to
play well to save my job that's not why we are here. We're here to
play baseball. I don't know how much of a lift it is but it's
relief to my guys."
The Cubs used six relievers and they combined for 5 2/3
scoreless innings with Dempster closing it for his 18th save.
Juan Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs for
The Cubs sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth inning when
they took advantage of an error by third baseman Scott Rolen to
score three runs and take a 5-4 lead.
Trailing 4-2, with two outs and a runner on second, Neifi Perez
hit an RBI single off Cardinals starter Jeff Weaver. Juan Pierre
added another RBI single off reliever Tyler Johnson (0-2) to tie
the game. Johnson was replaced after he walked Walker to load the
bases. Barrett followed with a grounder to third off reliever Josh Hancock that Rolen wasn't able to handle allowing Angel Pagan to
score and give the Cubs the lead.
Rolen was charged with his eighth error of the season.
"It was exactly the way you draw it up in that situation. A
routine ground ball hit to me. It's routine. I'm in position to
field the ball. The ball kicks up on me. That's what happened. I
tried to react, but I couldn't get there," Rolen said.
Roberto Novoa (1-0) got one out in the sixth inning to earn the
Walker hit his sixth homer of the season in the first and
Barrett followed on the next pitch with his 12th. The Cubs last hit
consecutive home runs on Tuesday against the New York Mets.
Weaver, making his third start since being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels, pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and 10
The Cardinals took the lead in the second inning. Rolen walked
to lead off the inning and Encarnacion followed with a line drive
home run to left to tie the game at two. Jim Edmonds singled and
scored from first on Hector Luna's double off the ivy in left,
giving the Cardinals the lead.
In the third, Chris Duncan led off with a single and scored on
Encarnacion's single, making it 4-2.
Cubs starter Rich Hill was recalled from Triple-A Iowa before
the game and was chased in the fourth inning when he loaded the
bases with one out. Reliever Michael Wuertz got Albert Pujols to
hit into a double play to end the inning.
"I think both teams were playing hard. Both had some clutch
at-bats to make things happen. Both missed some opportunities,"
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "We had a couple break open
chances and we missed them."
Hill pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up four runs and six hits.
He has a 7-1 record and a 1.80 ERA with Iowa this season.
The umpires worked with a three-man crew because Ed
Montague missed his flight. ... Pujols finished the game 0-for-4.
... That was Rolen's third error in his last four games against the
Cubs. ... St. Louis is winless in Chicago this season. They were
swept by the Cubs April 7-9 and the White Sox June 20-22.