ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two timely double plays made it a big night for the Chicago Cubs' bullpen.
Sean Marshall snuffed out a potential rally in the seventh inning and Kerry Wood started a 1-6-3 DP in the eighth as the Cubs ended a five-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory Sunday night, preventing a three-game sweep by the St. Louis Cardinals.
``The bullpen did all the work, man,' Chicago starter Ryan Dempster said. ``They made some big pitches in some big situations. It was fun to see them do it.'
The Cardinals had runners on first and third with none out in the seventh and newly acquired Rafael Furcal pinch-hitting when Cubs manager Mike Quade went to Marshall. Furcal hit into a forceout and another pinch-hitter, Ryan Theriot, grounded into a double play.
Albert Pujols singled with one out in the eighth before Wood, who falls off to the left side, snared Matt Holliday's grounder up the middle and started another double play.
``It's become a natural reaction,' Wood said. ``He goes up the middle and he hit in the right spot and I got it.'
St. Louis has grounded into 116 double plays, most in the majors.
Starlin Castro and Marlon Byrd had key hits as the Cubs broke up Jake Westbrook's perfect game with a four-run sixth.
Lance Berkman's three-run homer in the bottom of the inning made it interesting for the Cardinals, who completed a disappointing 4-3 homestand against the two worst teams in the NL Central. They trail the first-place Brewers by 2 1/2 games heading into a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday.
``Two out of three from the Cubs is nothing to sneeze at,' Berkman said. ``I think if you want to poo-poo the homestand, one of those games against the Astros we should have won, and it would have been three out of four.'
Alfonso Soriano homered for the second straight game and Dempster (8-8) pitched six-plus innings for the Cubs, who beat the Cardinals for the second time in seven meetings this season.
Soriano homered off Kyle McClellan, moved to the bullpen after the Cardinals acquired Edwin Jackson last week.
``I was looking for a fastball away and he threw me a cutter and I made a good swing,' Soriano said. ``That was a big homer and a big win for us. Now, maybe we can relax a little.'
Furcal got a standing ovation before his pinch-hit appearance. Theriot, who lost his starting job when the Cardinals traded for Furcal, had been 6 for 7 in the series.
Westbrook (9-5) needed only 44 pitches to get through five innings, then labored through 33 pitches in the sixth and left trailing by four. After he retired his first 16 batters, five straight Cubs reached safely with two outs, and Westbrook was done after Chicago batted around.
``I felt strong and was making pitches, I just wasn't able to make any after that,' Westbrook said. ``It hurt us, hurt us big-time.'
Westbrook had been 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his first three starts after the All-Star break.
Castro's RBI double over center fielder Jon Jay's head put the Cubs ahead. Carlos Pena drew a bases-loaded walk before Byrd finished the rally with a two-run single. Soriano, who hit a three-run homer in the first on Saturday, added a two-run drive for his 17th.
After managing just two hits off Dempster over the first five innings, the Cardinals climbed right back into it in the sixth on Berkman's league-leading 28th homer to straightaway center.
Carlos Marmol worked the ninth for his 20th save in 27 chances.
Eighth-place hitter Koyie Hill walked on a full count with one out in the sixth for the Cubs' first baserunner. Dempster's two-strike sacrifice bunt gave them their first runner in scoring position and Reed Johnson's sharp single to right with two outs ended the no-hit bid and put runners at the corners.
Daniel Descalso started at shortstop instead of Furcal, fatigued after a day of travel, plus just 6 for 38 for his career against Dempster, and made two exceptional plays early.
Descalso robbed Johnson to start the fourth on a grounder that deflected off third baseman David Freese's glove, then snared Soriano's grounder up the middle and made a strong throw to first from the grass to end the fifth.
Notes: The crowd of 43,960 was the Cardinals' fifth sellout of the season. ... Pujols is 17 for 52 (.327) against Dempster with seven homers, 14 RBIs, 11 walks and one strikeout. ... The Cardinals also grounded into two double plays on Saturday. ... The Cubs are 16-29 against the NL Central.
The Associated Press News Service
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