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Updated: Monday June 24, 2002 1:28 AM
St. Louis Cardinals
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3 7 2
W Kerry Wood
L Jason Simontacchi
Chicago Cubs
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Stats: Batting |  Pitching
8 10 1
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  Kerry Wood
  Albert Pujols

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa likened it to baseball's first day back following the terrorist attacks last September 11.

With the St. Louis Cardinals still reeling from the death of Darryl Kile, Kerry Wood took a shutout into the eighth inning and got support from Alex Gonzalez and Moises Alou as the Chicago Cubs rolled to an 8-3 victory.

Kile, who was scheduled to start this game, was found dead in his hotel room Saturday, apparently of a blocked coronary artery. Saturday's game between these long-time rivals was postponed, but the Cardinals voted unanimously to play this nationally televised contest.

"This is what we did in showing our respect for Darryl," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "He would have wanted us to go out there and try to win a ballgame. The circumstances were difficult, but I don't want to diminish what the Cubs did because they just beat us."

Referring to the events that followed September 11, Sosa said, "No question, the ballpark felt very similar. But with all respect to the September 11 (victims), this was someone we knew personally. Nobody felt good out there tonight, but we all tried to play hard and respect his memory."

A moment of silence was held before the game, no pre-recorded or organ music was played at Wrigley Field and the Cardinals wore Kile's No. 57 on their sleeves. No. 57 also adorned the marquee outside Wrigley Field and the message board below the center field fence.

"I thought about that when we first went out on the field. I looked at that mound and just thought of the image of Kile and how he should have been out there," Gonzalez said. "It was tough on us but was a lot tougher on the Cardinal players.

Chicago manager Don Baylor agreed.

"The easy part was playing the game," Baylor said. "The tough part is going to be for them to think about their teammate with all the down time. They have a day off tomorrow and believe me, I've been through it before. It will be a long day for them."

Amid the somber setting, Wood (7-5) allowed two runs and five hits over eight innings with three walks and four strikeouts for his first win in four starts. He did not allow a run until Albert Pujols crushed a two-run homer to the back of the bleachers in left-center field with two out in the top of the eighth.

"It was difficult for everyone to play tonight," Wood said. "I knew Darryl a little bit off the field. Your heart just breaks when you think about the loss to his family. We did our best to get through it, but it didn't seem right."

"The entire atmosphere was very somber, almost lifeless," Cubs catcher Joe Girardi added. "The Cardinal players did their best, you have to respect that. That's what most of us feel Darryl would want for them, to go out there and try to win the ballgame. But that's a huge responsibility for them."

Gonzalez opened the scoring for the Cubs with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the second and Alou's two-run blast capped a three-run third off rookie Jason Simontacchi (5-1).

"I can't even really tell you how everyone felt about playing the game tonight," Alou said. "It meant a lot, especially for the Cardinals. It meant a lot to us and and it meant a lot to everyone in baseball. ... We had to play today, but win or lose, everybody's mind was not in the game today."

His scheduled start pushed back a day, Simontacchi allowed four runs and seven hits in four innings. Mike Timlin relieved but ran into trouble in the sixth, allowing a sacrifice fly to Corey Patterson and another run when Girardi scored on a throwing error by shortstop Edgar Renteria.

Fred McGriff and Gonzalez added RBI singles off Gene Stechschulte to make it 8-0.

After Pujols homered in the eighth to spoil Wood's shutout, the Cardinals tacked on a run in the ninth against Antonio Alfonseca on an RBI single by Eli Marrero.

© 2002 Sportsticker