Ramirez's double big trouble for Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jason Isringhausen pitched carefully to Sammy Sosa and walked him in the eighth inning. Aramis Ramirez made the St. Louis Cardinals' closer pay.

Ramirez hit a two-out, two-run double off Isringhausen to send

the Chicago Cubs to a 5-4 victory Tuesday night.

"He's an RBI guy," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He's had

two 100-RBI years, and he's getting better.

"He uses the center of the field. He does what's necessary."

The Cubs have won nine of 10 to cut the Cardinals' NL Central

lead to one game. The Cardinals have won 15 of 21 but lost their

last two. They face the Cubs twice more in this series.

Jim Edmonds flied out to left for the final out of the game in

his first pinch-hitting appearance of the season. He was removed

from the lineup because of a groin injury, and manager Tony La Russa

said Edmonds might not play Wednesday.

"I'm not sure about tomorrow," La Russa said. "It's been

bothering him a little bit the last few days."

Cardinals players wore black wristbands inscribed with the

number 57 on the second anniversary of the death of pitcher Darryl

Kile. He died in Chicago while the Cardinals were on a road trip


Moises Alou and Derrek Lee homered for the Cubs, who won for

only the eighth time in 35 games at Busch Stadium since 2000.

Tony Womack's RBI single in the seventh gave the Cardinals the

lead after Lee's homer in the top of the inning tied it.

But the Cubs rallied against Isringhausen (3-2). It was his

fourth blown save in 19 chances.

Mark Grudzielanek singled off Jason Marquis to start the eighth

and advanced on a sacrifice. Isringhausen got Alou to ground out

and walked Sosa on a full count before Ramirez doubled to the gap

in right-center.

Isringhausen didn't consider Sosa's at-bat pivotal.

"I'm not going to let that man beat me," Isringhausen said.

"No disrespect to Aramis. Then again, if I throw a strike to him

and he beats me, then everybody asks me why I threw to him. It's a

no-win situation."

Isringhausen said Ramirez's hit "landed in no-man's land."

La Russa defended going to Isringhausen for what would have been

a five-out save because the Cubs' 3-4-5 hitters were coming up and

Isringhausen had two days off since a four-out save on Saturday.

Isringhausen has five saves of more than one inning this season.

"I was trying to win the game," La Russa said. "He's fresh,

it's the heart of the lineup, Izzy's the guy I wanted out there."

Kyle Farnsworth (3-3) got Edgar Renteria to ground out with

runners on second and third for the last out in the seventh, then

retired the Cardinals' 3-4-5 batters, striking out Albert Pujols

and John Mabry, in the eighth. LaTroy Hawkins finished for his

ninth save in 12 chances.

Marquis lasted 7 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits

with a season-high eight strikeouts and two walks. Greg Maddux, who

has 295 career wins, gave up four runs on nine hits in 6 2/3

innings. He won three of his four previous starts and beat Marquis

and the Cardinals on May 3 in St. Louis.

Scott Rolen drove in his major league-leading 71st run with a

sacrifice fly in the Cardinals' three-run first. Maddux, who has

allowed 11 first-inning runs in 15 starts, retired 18 of his next

19 hitters before tiring in the seventh.

"I thought on my good pitches I gave up hits and on my bad

pitches I got outs," Maddux said of the first inning. "You tip

your hat and move on and just try and hold them and hope the boys

come back."

Reggie Sanders and Ray Lankford each had an RBI single in the

first for St. Louis.

Ramirez doubled with one out in the second and scored on Corey Patterson's one-out groundout for the Cubs' first run, and Alou's 18th homer cut the gap to 3-2 in the fourth.

Game notes

Womack, the Cardinals' 2B, twice robbed Patterson, snaring

his liner and turning it into a double play in the fourth, then

ranging far to his right to glove his grounder in the seventh. ...

Lankford started in CF for the first time since Sept. 28, 2001,

when he was with the Padres. He has played primarily LF since a

knee operation after the 1998 season. ... Lee is batting .434

(33-for-76) since June 1 with five homers, 13 doubles and 18 RBI.