(TOM GANNAM ~ Associated Press)
ST. LOUIS -- Jake Fox homered in the 11th inning and the Chicago Cubs benefited from a wide slide by Matt Holliday, beating St. Louis 6-3 Sunday night and keeping the Cardinals' magic number at four for clinching the NL Central.
An interference call on Holliday cost the Cardinals a chance for a three-game sweep.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, and Ryan Ludwick hit a potential double-play grounder. Shortstop Andres Blanco's relay was wide and Ludwick eluded the tag, letting the apparent winning run score and setting off fireworks over Busch Stadium.
But while several St. Louis players ran onto the field to celebrate, second base umpire Marty Foster said Holliday slid out of the basepath and ruled an inning-ending double play. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa came out to argue, and Foster showed him the dirt path where Holliday slid going after Blanco -- it was clearly too wide of the bag.
Fox hit a two-run homer in the 11th off Mitchell Boggs (2-3). Another run scored on Brad Thompson's wild pitch.
The Cardinals completed a 3-6 homestand, missing a chance to wrap up their first trip to the postseason since winning the 2006 World Series. Adam Wainwright was foiled in a second shot at his 19th win.
Esmailin Caridad (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for his first major league win. Carlos Marmol finished for his 14th save in 18 chances.
The Cardinals made it 3-3 in the eighth off Kevin Gregg on Holliday's leadoff walk, a wild pitch and Yadier Molina's two-out single. Gregg has allowed 18 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings the last two months.
Aramis Ramirez scored from second on shortstop Brendan Ryan's throwing error while trying to complete a double play to put the Cubs ahead 3-2 in the sixth.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano struck out six in six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He's 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA in five starts on the Cardinals' home field.
Wainwright remained tied with CC Sabathia for the major league victory lead after allowing two earned in seven innings. He was a hard-luck loser as Florida beat St. Louis on Tuesday.
Wainwright hit double figures in strikeouts for the second time this season, fanning 10. After giving a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth, he struck out three of the last four batters.
Consecutive RBI doubles by Mark DeRosa and Albert Pujols in the fifth put the Cardinals ahead 2-1. In the top half, Blanco hit an RBI double off the base of the center-field wall for the Cubs' first extra-base hit in 21 innings.
* Chris Carpenter took the NL ERA lead at 2.34 after the Giants' Tim Lincecum allowed five runs in four innings to land at 2.47.
* Pujols has 1,105 RBIs, tying Jim Bottomley for third on the franchise list. He's 43 behind Enos Slaughter for second.