CHICAGO (AP) – Mark Prior won for the first time in almost a month, getting help from Kerry Wood out of the bullpen to lead the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 Sunday night.

Pinch-hitter Jose Macias hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the sixth inning off Matt Morris, shortly after he’d been hit by a line drive.

Following an eight-game losing streak, the Cubs won three of four games from the NL Central-leading Cardinals in the spirited series at Wrigley Field.

Prior (8-4) pitched six innings, giving up seven hits and three runs in his first win since July 19. Wood struck out four in two shutout innings, the first time Chicago’s hard-throwing aces pitched in the same game.

Ryan Dempster allowed an unearned run in the ninth before getting Albert Pujols on a grounder with the tying run on second base for his 16th save in 18 chances. Dempster pitched to Pujols with first base open and Jim Edmonds on deck.

Morris (12-5) was hit near his left wrist with a Jeromy Burnitz line drive, a play that started the Cubs’ rally.

After a trainer and manager Tony La Russa talked with and examined him, Morris stayed in the game. Burnitz reached on the play, Nomar Garciaparra followed with another single and after a fielder’s choice, Henry Blanco walked to load the bases.

Macias then hit a two-run single up the middle to finish Morris, who dropped to 11-5 in his career against the Cubs. Morris gave up 11 hits and five runs, including homers to Corey Patterson and Matt Lawton, in 5 1-3 innings.

Patterson, demoted to the minors for a month and just recalled five days ago, hit a two-run homer following Garciaparra’s leadoff double in the second.

Lawton hit his first homer with the Cubs since a trade from the Pirates on July 31 to make it 3-1 in the fifth. The Cubs thought they had two more when Derrek Lee’s long drive near the left field foul pole was first ruled a two-run homer before the umpires huddled and reversed the call, saying it was foul.

After third base umpire Mike Winters ruled it a fair ball, the left side of the Cardinals’ infield and left fielder John Rodriguez protested and that prompted an argument from La Russa. The umpires huddled and overruled the call – replays showed the ball clearly foul – and that brought Cubs manager Dusty Baker out. After circling the bases, Lee had to return to the plate and flied out.

St. Louis loaded the bases in the top of the sixth a single by Edmonds, walk to Abraham Nunez and Mark Grudzielanek’s infield single that went off Aramis Ramirez’s glove at third.

So Taguchi hit a soft single to right and Edmonds, who intially held up to see if it would be caught, just scored ahead of Burnitz’s throw from right to make it 3-2.

St. Louis tied it on Mike Mahoney’s fielder’s choice grounder to third. Mahoney hit a bouncer to third and Ramirez tagged the bag for the second out, but couldn’t convert the double play when Mahoney beat his low throw to first.

Prior, who gave up three first-inning homers to the Cardinals on July 24 in a no-decision, yielded Mahoney’s first major league homer in the second with two outs. Mahoney, a former Cubs farmhand, entered the game batting .155.

Notes: Prior has now given up 20 homers this season, a career high. He threw 123 pitches. … Morris’ six career wins at Wrigley Field ties him with Tom Glavine for most among active pitchers who’ve never played for the Cubs. Morris’ 11 career wins against the Cubs are his most against any team. He also has 11 against the Brewers. He was denied his 100th career win.

AP-ES-08-14-05 2321EDT


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