Daniel Descalso hit a two-out, bases-loaded single in the eighth off Kerry Wood and Albert Pujols had four hits Tuesday night, helping Chris Carpenter get his first win of the season as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 6-4.
St. Louis pulled out the victory without manager Tony La Russa, who was undergoing tests at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. General manager John Mozeliak said the veteran manager had been diagnosed with shingles and wasn't sure when he'd be back. Bench coach Joe Pettini ran the team.
Carpenter (1-2) allowed four runs and 13 singles over seven innings to get his first win since last Sept. 30. He threw 116 pitches to earn the win in his eighth start of the season. Eduardo Sanchez pitched the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano went seven innings, giving up eight hits and four runs.
St. Louis loaded the bases off Wood (1-2) in the eighth. Pujols singled, Matt Holliday walked and after both runners moved up on a fly ball, Wood intentionally walked Yadier Molina. Nick Punto lined out before Descalso, the No. 8 hitter, delivered his hit to right.
Chicago had scored two in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game.
After the Cubs loaded the bases for the third time in the game, Carlos Pena hit a sacrifice fly. Starlin Castro, in a 2-for-25 slump entering the game and dropped to seventh in the batting order, then dumped an RBI single to right.
The Cards went ahead with two in the fourth, a rally cut short by a successful appeal play from the Cubs on an apparent sacrifice fly by Descalso turned into an inning-ending double play.
Lance Berkman walked and scored on Molina's double to tie the game at 2. Punto then hit a liner to left that Alfonso Soriano ducked down on, apparently losing the ball in the lights, and the ball went all the way to the wall with Molina scoring and Punto getting a triple.
When Descalso hit a medium fly ball to center, Punto beat Marlon Byrd's throw to the plate. But the Cubs threw to third where umpire Paul Nauert ruled that Punto left too soon and was out, a call that brought Pettini out to question the call.
St. Louis tacked on a run in the seventh on a pair of singles, sacrifice by Carpenter and sacrifice fly by former Cub Ryan Theriot. With runners at second and third, Theriot hit a liner to right. Kosuke Fukudome made a strong throw to the plate, but Chicago catcher Koyie Hill, who'd entered the game in the first when Geovany Soto left with a groin strain, couldn't handle it as Punto scored for a 4-2 lead.
Chicago loaded the bases twice in the first. Carpenter walked leadoff batter Fukudome and Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd followed with singles to load the bases. Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run single to center and the Cubs loaded the bases again before Hill popped out.
Zambrano also got out of a big jam in the first with just one run scoring on Holliday's RBI single. Zambrano issued an intentional walk to Berkman to load the bases before Molina grounded into an inning-double play.