Cards nearing home-field advantage, wrap up set with Cubs

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Updated: September 29, 2013

(Sports Network) – With a chance to secure home-field advantage throughout the
National League playoffs, the St. Louis Cardinals turn to Jake Westbrook today
in the season finale against the Chicago Cubs.

The NL Central champions enter the day a game up on Atlanta for the No. 1 seed
in the NL. The Cardinals need to either win or have the Braves lose at home to
Philadelphia to secure the top spot. The Braves own the tiebreaker.

Westbrook hasn’t pitched since Sept. 6, when he yielded three hits and five
runs — three earned — over 1 1/3 innings in a 12-8 St. Louis win over the
Pirates. This will be his first start since Aug. 21 at Milwaukee.

Westbrook has dropped his last four decisions, three of them starts. His last
victory came July 24 versus the Phillies. He’s 6-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 12 games
against the Cubs.

Jeff Samardzija starts the finale for the Cubs. He didn’t get a decision on
Monday against the Pirates when he allowed one run on five hits, while walking
four and fanning seven in six innings. His last win came Aug. 24 at San Diego.

Samardzija is 4-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 17 career games (six starts) against the
Cardinals.

Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer and Yadier Molina had two hits and two RBI
to lead the Cardinals to a 6-2 win on Saturday. Pete Kozma had two hits, an
RBI and a run scored for the Cardinals.

Adam Wainwright (19-9) shined in his final tune up for the postseason,
limiting the Cubs to two hits and one walk while fanning five in 5 1/3
innings.

With the win, Wainwright tied Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann for the most wins
in the NL this season.

“You want to have some good positive momentum going into his next start, which
will be on Thursday,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “And we get a bonus
that he’s efficient, and we can stretch him out for five innings to get him an
opportunity to take that 19th win. That’s a good day.”

Seth Maness picked up his first career save after inducing an inning-ending
double play. .

Anthony Rizzo hit a solo homer and Donnie Murphy drove in a run for the Cubs.

Edwin Jackson (8-18) was pegged with the loss after allowing six runs on eight
hits in just 2 2/3 innings.

“If I had the answer, I would’ve changed a long time ago. It’s one of those
years where you forget it, but still learn from it. It was a bad year to sum
it up. There’s a lot of things to take from it,” said Jackson.

The Cardinals are 11-7 versus the Cubs in 2013.