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Updated: Friday, August 29, 2003 4:02 AM EDT
Chicago Cubs
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2 5 1
St. Louis Cardinals
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3 9 1
W DeJean (5-7)
L Remlinger (5-5)
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ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Kerry Robinson 's unexpected contribution came at a most opportune time for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Robinson's first homer since May 29, 2002 was a game-winner that gave the Cardinals a 3-2 triumph over the Chicago Cubs and a share of the National League Central Division lead.

Robinson, who has provided a spark since moving to the leadoff spot, opened the ninth inning against Mike Remlinger (5-5) by crushing a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall.

"It's my best moment in sports I guess and what added to it was doing it against the Cubs," Robinson said. "I grew up a Cardinal fan."

It was just his second career homer.

"Remlinger is a tough pitcher, he just got behind him and he did what he had to do," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He couldn't walk Kerry and Kerry put a great swing on it."

"You could say it was freak accident, I was just trying to go up there leading off the inning, trying to get on base for the guys," Robinson said. "I wanted to hit the ball hard somewhere and get on base. I was able to get a good pitch and hit it."

The Cubs thought losing on Robinson's unlikely blast hurt a bit more.

"You lose a game like that you figure maybe we weren't suppose to win," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "A guy hits his first home run of the year. ... Of all the guys to hit a home run you don't think a guy is going to hit a game-winner in the ninth who doesn't have any."

"It's just frustrating having a guy who hasn't hit a home run all year beat you," Remlinger said. "It's just unacceptable."

Remlinger took the loss hard.

"Today I didn't do my job, that's not good enough," he said. "Right now there's no excuse. Coming into the end of the season if you don't do your job you don't go to the playoffs. That's what we're all here for."

The win pulled St. Louis into a tie with the Houston Astros for the lead in the division. The Cardinals also are tied with Philadelphia, Florida and Montreal for the wild card lead.

St. Louis starter Matt Morris had a positive outing, allowing two runs and four hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out in his longest outing since June 3.

"I'm trying to be as efficient as possible and that's probably the most efficient I've been in a while," Morris said. "I think I'm throwing a lot more fastballs."

Steve Kline got an out in the eighth and Mike DeJean (5-7) retired the final five batters and notched the win when Robinson homered.

Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano had another strong outing, allowing two runs - one earned - and eight hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out six.

"I tried to pitch as many innings as I could," Zambrano said. "I was feeling good today but my command was a little bit wild. I just tried to throw my game and get the most innings I could."

Chicago got Zambrano an early lead as Sammy Sosa hit his 31st homer of the season and 530th of his career. He is four shy of Jimmie Foxx 's total and 11th place on the all-time list.

The Cubs tacked on a second run in the third inning. Paul Bako led off with a double and Zambrano helped his cause with a base hit that left runners at the corners. Kenny Lofton lined out, but Ramon Martinez lofted a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.

Morris helped his cause with a leadoff double in the fifth but Zambrano got the next two batters. Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds walked but Scott Rolen fouled out.

St. Louis did push across a run in the sixth on an RBI double by Robinson, who has 11 hits in his last 27 at-bats.

Pujols had a string of reaching base in 10 straight plate appearances snapped in the seventh but Rolen hit a solo homer with two outs in the frame to knot the contest.

"His (Zambrano) stuff was everywhere," Rolen said. "I don't know what it was. Something fast, something hard."

Doug Glanville was thrown out at the plate to end the eighth.

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