The Chicago Cubs' 24-hour visit to Miami yesterday included a brief stay atop the NL wild-card standings. Then they lost their lead because they couldn't beat David Weathers.
The journeyman right-hander, making his first start in six years, limited Chicago to two hits and one run in five innings, and the Florida Marlins won, 5-2, for a split of their doubleheader Monday.
Mark Prior allowed just five hits in 72/3 innings and outpitched Carl Pavano in the opener to help the Cubs win, 5-1.
With the victory in Game 1, Chicago climbed one percentage point ahead of San Francisco in the wild-card race. But the Cubs ended the day where they started: a half-game behind the idle Giants.
"We've been knocking on first place for a while," Chicago Manager Dusty Baker said. "We'll keep knocking until we kick the door in."
The Marlins, who had hoped to gain ground with a sweep, instead remained 41/2 games behind San Francisco. The defending World Series champions have no games left against any of the four teams ahead of them.
Weathers (7-7) showed the Marlins that anything's possible. Pitching for his third team this season, he came into the game 0-4 lifetime against the Cubs with an 11.44 ERA. But he received a standing ovation from fans behind the Florida dugout when he walked off the mound after the fifth with a 5-1 lead.
* CARDINALS 7, BREWERS 4: Albert Pujols hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth, and host St. Louis got its major league-leading 98th victory. The Cardinals ensured their third division title in five seasons on Saturday when they beat Arizona, and San Francisco and the Cubs lost.
Julian Tavarez (7-4) got the final out in the eighth for the win. Jason Isringhausen pitched a perfect ninth for his 43rd save in 50 chances.