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Cardinals avoid sweep, beat Cubs 8-4

Sunday, 11 August 2013 17:26 Published in Sports

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Pete Kozma singled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals ended a four-game losing streak, beating the Chicago Cubs 8-4 and avoiding a sweep.

Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each had three hits and drove in a run. Jon Jay and David Freese both drove in two runs, though they only had one hit between them.

The Cardinals dropped five of six to begin a 10-game homestand.

Edward Mujica worked the last two innings for his 31st save in 33 chances, overcoming Starlin Castro's leadoff double in the eighth while working with a one-run cushion.

Randy Choate (2-1) faced one batter, getting leadoff man David DeJesus to pop out with two men on to end the sixth after the Cubs had tied it at 4 on RBI singles by Castro and Darwin Barney off Seth Maness.

Barney, like Kozma an eighth-place hitter, had two RBI singles. He's batting .215 overall but has a .317 average against St. Louis with two homers and 10 RBIs.

Tony Cruz doubled with two outs in the sixth off Blake Parker (1-2) and scored easily on Kozma's single. Parker was the winner Saturday with an inning of relief.

Jay added a sacrifice fly in the seventh off Hector Rondon and the Cardinals got RBIs from Carpenter and Craig in the eighth off Michael Bowden.

The Cardinals combined two singles, a walk, a steal and a sacrifice fly off Edwin Jackson in a three-run first. Matt Holliday had one of the RBIs plus a steal off Jackson's slow move to the plate, before Jackson finally retaliated by picking off Jay.

Holliday handed the Cubs an unearned run in the third when he camped under Junior Lake's two-out high fly to medium left but then whiffed on the catch and DeJesus scored from first.

The Cubs settled for their first series win in St. Louis since a three-game sweep Sept. 13-15, 2010. They'd been 0-6-1 the previous seven series, and were trying for a three-game sweep.

NOTES: Cardinals OF Carlos Beltran fouled a ball off his right foot in the fifth, got medical attention on the field and then struck out before leaving with a bruise. X-rays were negative. ... Holliday grounded into his major league-leading 26th double play in the fifth. ... The Cubs' Darnell McDonald walked pinch-hitting in the seventh in his first at-bat of the year. He's the 50th player used by the Cubs, most in the majors. ... Cardinals starter Joe Kelly has been the starter the last two St. Louis wins. He allowed three earned runs in 5 1-3 innings and Jackson gave up four runs in five innings.

Furyk has lead heading to final round of PGA

Saturday, 10 August 2013 23:46 Published in Sports

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) -- The final moments Saturday at Oak Hill brought out more emotion as big putts kept falling in the PGA Championship, with one big difference.

These putts were for par.

Jim Furyk, after a 3-wood struck so poorly off the 18th tee that he couldn't have reached the green even if he had been in the fairway, worked his way up the 472-yard hole until he had a 15-foot putt from the fringe to keep a one-shot lead. The ball curled into the left corner of the cup, and the 43-year-old emphatically shook his fist.

Adam Scott, whose sweet swing turned sour on the last few holes, was on the verge of letting the lead get another shot away from him when he knocked in a 15-foot putt for par on the 17th hole, bowed his head and pumped his fist.

And then there was Jason Dufner, whose disappointment turned to surprise on the 18th hole when he took a step toward the cup to tap in a missed putt and watched gravity pull it into the hole for a par that put him in the final group.

Perhaps those scenes were a prelude for Sunday, the final round of the final major of the year.

"It's only going to get harder," Furyk said.

Oak Hill finally had enough elements for a tough test, and Furyk showed enough of his western Pennsylvania grit for a 2-under 68 and a one-shot lead over Dufner.

Grinding to the end in a swirling wind that cast doubt on so many shots, Furyk closed with two clutch putts - one for birdie to regain the lead, the par putt to keep it - that put him 18 holes away from winning another major 10 years after his U.S. Open title.

There was nothing fancy about the way he worked his way to the top of the leaderboard at 9-under 201, but then, that's rarely the case with Furyk. He made three birdies and two tough pars on the back nine, and the one bogey was a bunker shot that hit the pin and rolled 7 feet away.

He was so wrapped up in his game that he didn't even know the score.

"Give me a leaderboard. Where are we at?" he asked before he was told he was one shot ahead of Dufner, and two clear of Henrik Stenson.

"I'm comfortable with where I'm at," Furyk said. "There's a crowded leaderboard at the top, and instead of really viewing it as who is leading and who is not, I'm really viewing it as I need to go out there tomorrow and put together a good, solid round of golf. Fire a good number and hope it stacks up well."

Dufner was eight shot worse than his record-tying 63, but at least he got into the final group at the PGA Championship for the second time in three years. At the Atlanta Athletic Club in 2011, he had a four-shot lead with four holes to go and lost to Keegan Bradley in a playoff.

"I was young, new to doing the majors," Dufner said. "I think that was the third or fourth major I played in. So hopefully, the experience I've had since then will pull me through and give me a chance to win tomorrow."

Stenson, a runner-up at the British Open three weeks ago, dropped only one shot over the last 16 holes and ran in a pair of 12-foot birdie putts for a 69 and was two shots behind. Sweden's odds of winning a major have never been this high. Stenson will play in the penultimate group with Jonas Blixt, who had a 66.

The surprise was Scott, who was poised to seize control at any moment.

Scott blasted a driver on the uphill, 318-yard 14th hole that was so pure he snatched his tee from the ground as the ball was still rising. It stopped 25 feet below the cup, and he had an eagle putt to tie for the lead. The Australian two-putted for birdie, and two holes later fell back with a double bogey on the 16th. Scott escaped further damage with a 15-foot par save on the 17th and managed a 72. He was four shots behind, along with Steve Stricker, who had a 70.

Those were the only five players within five shots of the lead.

Still with an outside chance was Rory McIlroy, who came to life with three birdies over his last six holes for a 67. McIlroy, trying to join Tiger Woods as the only repeat winners of the PGA in the stroke-play era, knocked in a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th and then showed more emotion than he has all year when he chipped in for birdie on the 18th.

"It was good to feel the sort of rush again," McIlroy said.

He was at 3 under, still six shots behind.

Woods, meanwhile, will have to wait eight more months to end his drought in the majors. He opened with two bogeys in three holes and shot a 73 to fall 13 shots behind. It was a shocking performance from the world's No. 1 player, mainly because he was coming off a seven-shot win at Firestone that included a 61.

Woods has made only seven birdies in 54 holes - four of them on par 3s.

British Open champion Phil Mickelson was even worse. He sprayed the ball all over Oak Hill on his way to a 78, matching his highest score ever in the PGA Championship.

No one looked terribly comfortable at the start, not with the swirling wind and water hazard that winds its way along the front nine.

U.S. Open champion Justin Rose fell apart early with back-to-back double bogeys that sent him to a 42. He wound up with a 77. Scott opened with a 20-foot birdie putt, only to follow with back-to-back bogeys. And when Dufner ended his string of pars by driving into the creek on No. 5 for double bogey, it appeared that this tournament was wide open. The leaders steadied themselves, leaving the title Sunday it still up for grabs but likely among fewer players.

Scott knows as well as anyone how unpredictable a final round can be.

He was four shots up with four holes to play at the British Open last year and watched Ernie Els win the claret jug. At Muirfield last month, Mickelson came from five shots behind on the final day and won by three.

"I would like to be leading," Scott said. "Four back is well within reach. Anything can happen in a major. We just saw the pin spots get tough today, and scoring in the final groups was very difficult. With so much danger around, it's hard to be completely free where major pressure is on the line. Tomorrow is going to be similar."

 

Navarro lifts Cubs to 6-5 win over Cardinals

Saturday, 10 August 2013 23:41 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro hit a run-scoring double in the eighth inning to cap a three-run rally and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cardinals 6-5 Saturday night to win a series in St. Louis for the first time in nearly three years.

Matt Holliday homered for twice St. Louis, which lost its fourth in a row. Chicago won for the third time in four games.

The Cubs trailed 4-2 entering the eighth, but tied it 4-4 on Darwin Barney's two-out, two-run double by off reliever Trevor Rosenthal (1-3). Navarro followed with his fifth pinch-hit RBI of the season to give Chicago a 5-4 lead.

Blake Parker (1-1) picked up the victory for the Cubs, who last won a series in St. Louis on Sept. 13-15, 2010.

Welington Castillo homered in the second to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

Castillo and Nate Schierholtz drew leadoff walks to start the eighth. Rosenthal struck out the next two batters before Barney hit his 20th double of the season.

Kevin Gregg picked up his 25th save in 29 opportunities despite giving up Holliday's 15th homer of the season, a solo shot with one out in the ninth. Gregg retired the final two batters on ground outs.

Schierholtz added a run-scoring single in the ninth.

Castillo also had a sacrifice fly in the fifth that trimmed the deficit to 3-2.

Holliday hit a three-run homer in the fourth off Chicago starter Carlos Villanueva to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.

St. Louis rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, making his fourth major league start, surrendered two runs on five hits in a 99-pitch stint. He was recalled from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day for the spot start.

Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran led off the fourth with singles to set the stage for Holliday's line-drive blast over the left-field wall.

The three-run outburst broke a string of 17 straight scoreless innings by St. Louis.

Villanueva gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings. His last win as a starter came on April 18.

The Cardinals stretched the lead to 4-2 on back-to-back doubles by Carpenter and Beltran in the sixth.

NOTES: St. Louis OF Jon Jay, INF Daniel Descalso and C Tony Cruz met with several Real Madrid soccer players, including standout Cristiano Ronaldo, before to Real Madrid's match with Inter Milan earlier in the day. ... St. Louis rookie C Rob Johnson started for the third time this season and had two hits. ... Cruz is mired in an 0-for-10 slump. ... Chicago is 34-34 since May 26.

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