Saturday, July 10, 2004 - At Busch Stadium II (Jeff Suppan - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent: Chicago Cubs (Matt Clement - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance: 50,569
A packed house saw the Cardinals win their eighth straight game - a 5-2 decision over the Chicago Cubs, who coincidentally, were now eight games behind St Louis in the NL Central race.
Jeff Suppan (8-5) had a nice outing - 6 IP - 7 H - 2 R - 0 BB - 5 SO - 1 HR - Sammy Sosa hit the home run - a sixth-inning solo shot - and he also scored the other run for Chicago, in the second-inning.
After a lead-off double, one out later, Sosa was chased home by another two-base hit off the bat of Derrick Lee. After Michael Barrett lined a single to center field, Lee held up at third - but the inning came to an abrupt halt when shortstop Ramon Martinez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The St Louis bullpen - Calero, King, Taverez, Kline and Isringhausen (who got his 21st save of the season) - kept the Cubs in check over the last three innings - allowing no hits - just a pair of walks.
In the meantime, the Cardinals scored all the runs they needed in the first-inning. Tony Womack led-off with a walk, then Clement had him picked off, but forgot to throw the ball to first baseman Derrick Lee - instead throwing it to the right field foul pole - allowing Womack to scamper to third, where he scored on Ray Lankford's bloop single over the shortstop's head into left field. Clement seemed to regroup when he struck Albert Pujols out looking, then retired Scott Rolen on an infield pop fly to the shortstop.
But then Jim Edmonds launched a two-run home run deep to right field - putting the Redbirds on top by a score of 3-0. After Chicago made it a 3-2 game, Edmonds sparked a two-run eighth-inning rally with a lead-off single to right. Hector Luna then brought the fleet-footed center fielder in with a double down the left field line - and Luna later scored on a So Taguchi single to right field.
Matt Clement (7-8) settled down after that three-run first-inning - the only runs he allowed in his six innings of work - but those were enough to hand him a loss. Glendon Rusch allowed the other two Cardinal runs in the eighth - on four hits in just 0.2 innings pitched.
Although the Cardinals' winning streak would be snapped in the series finale on Sunday, the NL Central race was, for all practical purposes, over.