CHICAGO (AP) -Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier connected for a go-ahead, three-run homer off Ryan Dempster in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers stunned the Chicago Cubs 7-4 Thursday.
Alfonso Soriano hit two homers for the Cubs, including a three-run drive in the seventh that put Chicago ahead 4-2. But it wasn't enough to avoid a deflating defeat that dropped the Cubs into a first-place tie with idle Milwaukee in the NL Central. The Dodgers closed within 3 1/2 games of NL West-leading Arizona.
Matt Kemp's homer off reliever Bobby Howry closed the gap to 4-3 in the eighth, and the Dodgers took the lead in the ninth against Dempster (2-5), who blew a save for the third time in 28 chances.
Joe Beimel (4-1) pitched 1 2-3 innings of hitless relief and Takashi Saito got three outs for his 37th save in 40 chances.
Cubs starter Jason Marquis retired his first 14 batters and allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings on a muggy day. Derek Lowe gave up three runs, five hits and five walks in six innings.
Cardinals 16, Pirates 4, 8 innings, rain
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Rick Ankiel homered twice and had a career-high seven RBIs, leading St. Louis over Pittsburgh in a game shortened to eight innings because of rain.
The pitcher-turned-outfielder hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-2 lead against Bryan Bullington (0-1), who made his major league debut five years after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft. Ankiel made it 11-3 with a two-run drive in the fifth against John Grabow and added a two-run double in the sixth off Dave Davidson, also making his big league debut.
Brought up Aug. 9 in his first major league appearance since he pitched for the Cardinals in 2004, Ankiel is batting .358 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 23 games.
St. Louis (69-68) moved within one game of NL Central co-leaders Chicago and Milwaukee, scoring its most runs since Aug. 29, 2001, against San Diego. The Cardinals had 22 hits, their highest total since April 27, 2003, at Florida.
Mike Maroth, back from a bout of elbow tendinitis, allowed two runs over 1 2-3 innings in his first appearance since Aug. 4. Kelvin Jimenez (2-0) got one out for the win.
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