Rubber Match

Aramis Ramirez's absence from the lineup didn't keep the Chicago Cubs from their first win over the St. Louis Cardinals this season.

The Cubs hope to have their third baseman back Sunday night when they close out this series against their division rival and try to regain first place in the NL Central.

Oddsmakers from have made St. Louis -107 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on St. Louis -107 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game. Get real live customizable updates, public betting info from 6 online sports books, archived public betting info and much more by clicking here.

Chicago (18-12) and St. Louis (19-12) have split the first two of this three-game series. The Cardinals won 5-3 in 11 innings on Friday, and the Cubs bounced back Saturday with a 9-3 win.

Chicago had 12 hits in the victory, seven of which went for extra bases (six doubles and one home run).

The Cubs produced that offense without Ramirez, who was hit by a pitch on the wrist Friday. Ramirez, who is hitting .276 with six homers, 23 runs scored and 22 RBIs, said he hopes to be back in the lineup Sunday.

"It's a little better, but I can't play today," Ramirez told the Cubs' official Web site. "It's more swollen than anything else. Hopefully I'll be all right (Sunday)."

Mark DeRosa started at third base in place of Ramirez, while Kosuke Fukudome moved up to the cleanup spot and went 3-for-5 with two RBI doubles.

"I didn't change anything, my approach was just the same as any other day," said Fukudome, who is hitting .407 with four doubles in his last six games. "I think we're a better team when Ramirez is in the lineup."

The Cardinals send former Cub Todd Wellemeyer (2-1, 4.14 ERA) to the mound for the series finale. The right-hander, who spent the first three years of his career in Chicago before being traded to Florida in 2006, allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings on Monday in a 4-3 loss to the Reds.

This will be Wellemeyer's first start against his original major-league club. He pitched one scoreless inning of relief against the Cubs in 2006.

The Cardinals' loss on Saturday snapped a three-game winning streak, during which they had scored a combined 17 runs. Their six hits in the defeat were their fewest in seven games, but they didn't seem discouraged after the game.

"I feel like whenever we're down, we're always fighting, and that's the good thing about this team," Ryan Ludwick, who had an RBI double, told the Cardinals' official Web site. "There's never a stop in fight in us. ... Overall, it was a tough loss."

Like the Cubs, St. Louis will also face a former teammate on the mound in Jason Marquis (1-1, 4.45).

The right-hander, who won 42 games with the Cardinals from 2004-2006, is 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA in seven career games - five starts - versus St. Louis.

Marquis is looking to bounce back after allowing season highs of five runs and 10 hits in five innings against Milwaukee on Tuesday in a 10-7 loss. It was the third time in five starts he failed to make it through six innings.


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