Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Ryan Dempster extended his career-high to 17 wins with five solid innings on the hill, as the National League Central- champion Chicago Cubs routed their division-rival St. Louis Cardinals, 5-1, in the final regular-season game from Wrigley Field.
Dempster (17-6) gave up just one run on six hits with a strikeout to get the win. Felix Pie had a triple and scored twice for the Cubs, who have won eight of their last 10 games. Casey McGehee went 2-for-3 and drove in a pair in the win. Jim Edmonds had a pinch-hit sacrifice fly, and Micah Hoffpauir also drove in a run.
The Cubs' 5-4 victory on Saturday solidified the division crown for Chicago, which went an NL-best 55-26 as the host this year. 55 is the most home wins the club has had in a single season since posting a record 56 wins in 1935. The Cubs have won back-to-back division crowns for the first time in franchise history and will now aim for their first World Series title since 1908. The Cubs need one more win to ensure home field throughout the NL playoffs.
Braden Looper (12-14) took the loss after yielding four runs on nine hits over six frames, while fanning six and walking one. Skip Schumaker went 3-for-4 and scored the lone run for the Cardinals, who have dropped two straight and nine of their last 11. Albert Pujols drove in the run in defeat.
The Cardinals got on the board in the first inning. It was second and third as Schumaker led off with a single and Ryan Ludwick followed with a double. Pujols then offered a sacrifice fly to center and it was 1-0.
The Cubs tied the game in the third inning. Runners were on the corners as Kosuke Fukudome and Ronny Cedeno connected on back-to-back one-out singles. Hoffpauir then hit a grounder that appeared to be an easy double play ball, however, Felipe Lopez's throw pulled Cesar Izturis off second and Fukudome scored and both runners were safe.
Daryle Ward was caught looking at the third strike before Mike Fontenot hit a liner to right field. Cedeno tried to score from second on it, but Ludwick's throw was on the money and he was toast at the plate to end the rally.
Chicago took the lead, 2-1, in the fourth. Pie led off the frame with a grounder down the first base line that the speedy center fielder turned into a triple. McGehee then offered a sac fly to center that allowed Pie to come home. It was a controversial call, though, as Schumaker's throw appeared to be on point and nail the runner.
The Cubs tacked on two more in the sixth inning. Fontenot led off with a walk and Pie's single put runners on the corners. McGehee then connected on an RBI single and Koyie Hill's sac bunt moved the runners to scoring position. Pinch-hitter Edmonds offered a sac fly to left, and it was a 4-1 affair.
Cedeno led off the sixth with a double, moved to third on Ward's double play and scored as Kyle McClellan uncorked a wild pitch, giving the Cubs a 5-1 lead.