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Cardinals rally past Cubs, avoid sweep

cubsST.  LOUIS -- Rookie left fielder Stephen Piscotty laced the first pitch from reliever Fernando Rodney to the center field wall for a two-run double in the eighth to lead St Louis to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
  The Cardinals (88-51) increased their division lead over second-place Pittsburgh to five games and pushed the Cubs 7-1/2 games back.
  The Cardinals had been trailing 3-1 with six outs before Chicago starter Jon Lester, who dominated St. Louis for most of seven innings, was replaced by manager Joe Maddon for a pinch hitter.
  St. Louis then preyed on his three successors.
  Third baseman Mark Reynolds started the rally with a walk against reliever Pedro Strop.
  Pinch hitter Greg Garcia singled for the Cardinals' first hit since an RBI single by right fielder Jason Heyward in the first, before Matt Carpenter followed with an RBI single off reliever Clayton Richard (3-1), scoring pinch runner Pete Kozma.
  Maddon hooked Richard and waving in Fernando Rodney, whose first pitched was ripped by Piscotty to the center field wall on one hop to score pinch runner Peter Bourjos and Carpenter.
  It was Piscotty's fifth game-winning RBI since being called up from Triple-A Memphis on July 21, giving him 30 RBIs in his first 45 major league games.
  As he stood on second, Piscotty pumped both fists to the dugout and yelled as the crowd of 43,557 exploded.
  "I couldn't resist that time," Piscotty said. "The crowd was loud, it was exciting. It just came out of me.
  "It was definitely good to get that one."
  First baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Tommy La Stella had established a 2-0 first-inning lead for the Cubs with consecutive RBI doubles.
  Center fielder Dexter Fowler grounded a run-scoring single an inning later to make it 3-1.
  That was where the score stayed as Lester, who walked one and struck out seven, induced a variety of soft outs when he was not striking out the outmatched Cardinals.
  "I felt good," Lester said. "My cutter felt better today. I got some mishits with that, which helped. I got away with a couple of pitches because of what we established earlier.
  "Obviously, with the lineup they have, you're going to throw pitches. Every time, it seemed like I was in a 2-and-2 count."
  Lester allowed just two hits and a run, walking one and striking out seven.

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