was a little leery of facing San Francisco closer
. After all, in three previous at-bats Baker struck out.
Not this time.
Baker hit a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning and the
staved off elimination in the NL Central for a day by handing the
San Francisco Giants
a blow to their postseason hopes with a 3-2 victory Thursday night.
''I was just hoping to make contact,'' Baker said. ''I'm not sure I've ever made contact off him before. He's got great stuff.''
Had the Cubs lost, the St. Louis Cardinals would have clinched the Central. The Cardinals on Friday begins a three-game series
against the NL wild card-leading Rockies, who lead the Braves by 3 1/2 games with San Francisco and Florida four behind. The
Cubs trail Colorado by 6 1/2 games with 10 to play.
''Any time you can delay it and keep pushing this thing off it's good,'' Baker said. ''You never know what might happen.''
Wilson (5-6) walked
, who was treated for neck spasms afterward, to open the inning but got
on infield popups before Baker hit his fourth home run on a two-strike pitch.
''I always felt I could be a run producer,'' Baker said. ''It was good to get (
) off the hook and even better to get the win.''
(4-4) pitched the eighth to earn the victory and
put two runners on in the ninth but finished for his 15th save in 19 chances, including 11 straight.
''I've always had a lot of confidence in myself,'' Marmol said. ''It's always been my dream to be a closer in the major leagues.''
had two hits for the Cubs, who won their fourth in five games.
''It got awful quiet when Baker hit the home run,'' Cubs' manager
said. ''Baker has done well since we've gotten him. He's a tough kid, plays hard and is versatile.''
outpitched his former teammate with the
with eight solid innings. He allowed a run and seven hits. He struck out four and walked one.
''It's tough with the situation we're in,'' Penny said. ''Even going into today we were in a tough spot. In a close game you
have to be perfect.''
allowed two runs on seven hits in his seven innings. He walked one and struck out six.
''That was pretty awesome,'' Dempster said.
hit his first home run of the year and drove in two runs. The Giants lost for the second time in 75 games when leading after
''It was a tough loss for all of us,'' Bowker said. ''He made some good pitches on us. He got a couple of pitches up on me
and I was able to take advantage of them.''
The Cubs scored their first run in the fourth inning on Baker's double play grounder. Hoffpauir doubled to lead off the frame
and Fontenot singled ahead of Baker.
Bowker doubled in a run in the fourth and homered to lead off the seventh. The Giants lost their fourth in six games.
''We know what happened tonight. We had a chance to pick up a game,'' Giants manager
said. ''We were one pitch from winning the game. It's disappointing, there's no way of getting around that.''
Dempster is 0-3 in 12 games, five starts, in San Francisco although he owns a career 3.43 ERA here.
NOTES: Giants OF
was given the night off with a slight case of food poisoning. ... LHP
(11-9, 3.00) will pitch Sunday's series finale for the Cubs with LHP
moving to Wednesday's doubleheader. ... Giants C
left the game in the fifth inning with a contusion on a finger of his left hand, the result of a foul ball. ... Giants 3B
extended his hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning single. ... Lee stole his first base of the year on his first