Patience keeps Cardinals' playoff hopes alive

Sunday, September 25, 2011
Cardinals baserunner Adron Chambers celebrates with teammate Rafael Furcal as Chambers scores the game-winning run on a wild pitch during the ninth inning Saturday in St. Louis. (TOM GANNAM ~ Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals stayed alive in the NL wild-card race by keeping their bats on their shoulders Saturday.

Carlos Marmol forced home the tying run with a bases-loaded walk to Ryan Theriot and followed with a game-ending wild pitch with two outs in the ninth inning, giving St. Louis a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

The Cardinals remained two games behind the Braves with four to play.

"I think people have written us off several times, and I think probably before today they probably wrote us off again," Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse said. "To show we can gut it out, come back with a big win like that, is huge."

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he accidentally got punched in the jaw during the ensuing celebration. He said it was sore but didn't seem to mind.

"I'd need to have to settle down and replay the inning because I'm not sure exactly what happened," La Russa said. "Guys were excited, [stuff] flying all over that dugout. Right, left, elbows, high fives, low 10s."

The Cardinals have won eight times in their final at-bat, and this was the third one against the Cubs. They won on a wild pitch for the first time since Ray Lankford scored against Colorado's Jose Jimenez on April 9, 2001.

St. Louis drew three consecutive walks before rookie pinch-runner Adron Chambers scored the winning run standing up on a 1-0 pitch to Rafael Furcal that was in the dirt and rolled to the backstop.

"It got far enough away that I was able to score pretty easily," Chambers said. "Man, goodness gracious. It was a nice one, wasn't it?"

St. Louis plays the Cubs again today in the home finale, then closes with three games at Houston.

"We have to win every single game," Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker said.

Jason Motte (5-2) got two outs in the ninth for the win.

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