Cardinals beat Cubs in ninth again, winning 2-1

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Brendan Ryan hit an outfielder-assisted homer Saturday and singled in the winning run in the ninth inning, lifting St. Louis to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs that reduced the Cardinals' magic number for clinching the NL Central to four.

The Cardinals beat the Cubs in the ninth inning for the second straight game, this time prevailing after Ryan Franklin's third blown save in five appearances. Franklin (4-3) allowed two hits and a tying sacrifice fly to Jeff Baker in the ninth.

Chris Carpenter threw eight crisp innings for St. Louis after getting an extra day of rest. Carpenter was coming off a shaky start against Atlanta that ended his 13-start unbeaten streak.

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