Friday, September 25, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illinois completes futile effort

Baker's homer stuns Giants, Cubs stay alive

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[September 25, 2009]  SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Jeff Baker hit a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning and the Chicago Cubs staved off elimination in the NL Central for a day by handing the San Francisco Giants a blow to their postseason hopes with a 3-2 victory Thursday night.

Had the Cubs lost, the St. Louis Cardinals would have clinched the Central. The Cardinals on Friday begins a three-game series against the NL wild card-leading Rockies, who lead the Braves by 3 1/2 games with San Francisco and Florida four behind. The Cubs trail Colorado by 6 1/2 games with 10 to play.

Brian Wilson (5-6) walked Derrek Lee to open the inning but got Micah Hoffpauir and Mike Fontenot on infield popups before Baker hit on his fourth home run.

Aaron Heilman (4-4) pitched the eighth to earn the victory and Carlos Marmol put two runners on in the ninth but finished for his 15th save in 19 chances, including 11 straight.

Kosuke Fukudome had two hits for the Cubs, who won their fourth in five games.

Giants' starter Brad Penny outpitched his former teammate with the Florida Marlins with eight solid innings. He allowed a run and seven hits. He struck out four and walked one.

Cubs' starter Ryan Dempster allowed two runs on seven hits in his seven innings. He walked one and struck out six.

John Bowker hit his first home run of the year and drove in two runs. The Giants lost for the second time in 75 games when leading after eight innings.

The Cubs scored their first run in the fourth inning on Baker's double play grounder. Hoffpauir doubled to lead off the frame and Fontenot singled ahead of Baker.

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Bowker doubled in a run in the fourth and homered to lead off the seventh. The Giants lost their fourth in six games.

Dempster is 0-3 in 12 games, five starts, in San Francisco although he owns a career 3.43 ERA here.

NOTES: Giants OF Nate Schierholtz was given the night off with a slight case of food poisoning. ... LHP Randy Wells (11-9, 3.00) will pitch Sunday's series finale for the Cubs with LHP Ted Lilly moving to Wednesday's doubleheader. ... Giants C Bengie Molina left the game in the fifth inning with a contusion on two fingers of his left hand, the result of a foul ball. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval extended his hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning single. ... Lee stole his first base of the year on his first attempt.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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