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PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Kyle Lohse outpitched Roy Halladay, and the St. Louis Cardinals held off the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 on Monday night to gain ground on Atlanta in the NL wild-card chase.
Lance Berkman homered and had an RBI single for the surging Cardinals, who moved within 2 1/2 games of the wild card-leading Braves. Atlanta lost 6-5 at Florida on Omar Infante’s two-run homer off closer Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
St. Louis, which took three of four in the series, has won 10 of 12 overall.
The defeat prevented Philadelphia from clinching home-field advantage throughout the postseason – at least momentarily. The NL East champions needed just a win or a Milwaukee loss to the Chicago Cubs to wrap up home field.
Lohse (14-8) tossed 7 1-3 strong innings, allowing an unearned run and seven hits while striking out five and walking one. The Cardinals have nine games remaining and return to St. Louis for a six-game homestand that begins Tuesday against the Mets.
Atlanta has eight games left, including the final three against the Phillies in Atlanta.
The Phillies scored a pair of runs in the ninth off reliever Jason Motte. Carlos Ruiz doubled with one out and scored on Jimmy Rollins’ triple. Rollins scored on Shane Victorino’s groundout.
Arthur Rhodes relieved Motte and gave up a two-out single to Chase Utley. Octavio Dotel followed and retired Hunter Pence to earn his second save with the Cardinals this season. He also had one for Toronto this year.
The Phillies lost their second straight since clinching their fifth consecutive NL East title on Saturday. Philadelphia played most of its regulars, with only Ryan Howard getting the day off after receiving an anti-inflammatory injection in his left ankle. Howard is expected to miss a couple of days.
The Phillies (98-54) remained four victories shy of setting a franchise record for wins in a season.
Halladay (18-6) had won seven straight September decisions and was 9-0 with a 1.97 ERA in his last 10 September starts dating to 2009. But he failed in his bid for his 19th victory and 40th over the last two seasons, which would’ve marked the first time a Philadelphia pitcher accomplished that since Steve Carlton won 42 games combined in 1979-80.
Halladay tossed eight innings and allowed four runs on six hits with six strikeouts and a season-high four walks (two intentional).
Berkman’s solo homer to right and Nick Punto’s RBI groundout in the first helped the Cardinals take a 2-0 lead. It was Berkman’s 31st homer, but first since Aug. 26.
The Phillies got a run back in the second on Ruiz’s single to right.
St. Louis regained a two-run lead in the third when Lohse, after hitting his second double of the season to lead off the inning, scored on Berkman’s two-out single to center.
Philadelphia had a chance for a big inning in the bottom half, loading the bases with one out on a pair of singles and an error, but Lohse struck out Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco to end the threat. The Phillies also stranded a pair of runners in the second and fourth.
Albert Pujols’ two-out double to left in the seventh drove in Punto and gave the Cardinals a 4-1 lead. The slugger, who had been 1 for 10 against Halladay, has reached safely in 35 straight games.
Philadelphia lost a four-game series for the first time this season after winning its previous eight. The Phillies have scored three runs or fewer in 10 of their last 11 games, averaging 2.5 runs while going 5-6.
Rafael Furcal went 3 for 4 with two doubles for St. Louis.
NOTES: Rollins’ triple gave him 100 for his career. … Berkman is 11 for 24 (.458) in his last seven games. … The crowd of 45,048 was the 200th straight regular-season sellout and 213th overall, counting postseason games. … Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday missed his fifth straight game with an inflamed tendon on his right middle finger. … Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.22 ERA) is scheduled to face Washington left-hander Ross Detwiler (2-5, 3.76) in the first game of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader. Philadelphia lefty Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.38) faces Nationals LHP Tommy Milone (1-0, 4.60) in the nightcap.
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