ST. LOUIS—The St. Louis Cardinals pulled within one game of the Atlanta Braves in the NL wild-card race as Rafael Furcal hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning Sunday in a 3-2 victory over the Cubs.St. Louis trailed Atlanta by 10 1-2 games on Aug. 26, but the Cardinals have won 15 of their last 20.The Cardinals close with a three-game series at Houston, which has the worst record in the major leagues, while Atlanta hosts Philadelphia, which has the best mark.Trailing 2-1, St. Louis tied the score in the seventh on Yadier Molina’s career-best 14th homer. The following inning, Furcal homered off Randy Wells (7-6).Octavio Dotel (5-3) retired two batters in the eighth, and Jason Motte pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 13 chances.Making what might have been his final home appearance for the Cardinals, Albert Pujols went 0 for 4 and stopped his streak of reaching base in 40 successive games. The three-time NL MVP, who is eligible for free agency, received a 45-second standing ovation during his first at-bat. He stepped out of the batter’s box and tipped his helmet.Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. Wells, who grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Ill., gave up three runs in eight innings.Geovany Soto’s sacrifice fly put the Cubs ahead in the fourth, but Jackson’s sacrifice fly tied it in the fifth.
NOTES—In the event of a tie, St. Louis would host a tiebreaker game Thursday because the Cardinals beat the Braves 2-1 in the season series. … The Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.45) will face Houston’s Wandy Rodriguez (11-11, 3.51) on Monday. … The Cubs’ Starlin Castro leads the NL with 203 hits. He has reached safely in a career-high 37 consecutive games. … St. Louis passed the 3 million mark in home attendance for the eighth successive season and, barring a tiebreaker, finished at 3,093,954, including 41,469 on Sunday.