Berkman breaks up Norris' no-hitter, but Cards fall in HoustonJun 9, 2011 - 5:42 AM
That small distance is all that stood between Houston starter Bud Norris and the Astros' first no-hitter since 2003. Instead, he had to settle for allowing one hit, a solo home run by ex-Astro Lance Berkman with two outs in the seventh, in a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals at Minute Maid Park.
Berkman drove a down-and-in pitch just out of the reach of a leaping Hunter Pence in right, falling in the first row of the seats, breaking up Norris' run at history. Houston's last no-hitter was accomplished by Roy Oswalt and five others against the Yankees, but this was shaping up to be a solo act.
Norris had walked five, but held the Cardinals at bay, and it appeared it might be his night when Clint Barmes dove to his right and snagged Jon Jay's liner destined for left field leading off the seventh. After retiring Albert Pujols, Berkman stepped in and deposited a Norris mistake in the seats, adding to his mastery of Houston pitching at Minute Maid Park this season. He is 10- for-20 with four home runs and 10 runs batted in over five games at his former park this season.
Berkman still complimented Norris after the game.
"He's got great stuff, a great mentality. He reminds me a lot a Roger Clemens in terms of his aggressiveness and mound presence, and that's about as high a praise as I can give somebody," Berkman said.
Norris (4-4) struck out just two over his eight frames of work and was backed up by an RBI from Carlos Lee and Jason Michaels.
"He really kept the ball down in the zone. He had 11 ground ball outs, which I think is really huge for him," Astros manager Brad Mills said of his starter.
Pence pushed his career-high hitting streak to 19 games as well for Houston, which snapped a four-game losing streak. Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his sixth save.
Jaime Garcia (6-2) threw a lot of pitches in the loss, falling just short of 100 in five innings while surrendering three runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and one strikeout. The Cardinals saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
The Astros scored a pair of runs in the third as Jeff Keppinger singled to center with one out and round the rest of the bases when Pence hit a moon shot that went up the hill in dead center field for a triple. Lee's groundout plated him for the two-run cushion.
In the fifth, Jason Bouregeois singled, stole second and scored on Jason Michaels single to left. Michael Bourn pinch hit in the eighth, driving in an insurance tally with a single to center.
Norris improved to 6-2 lifetime versus the Cardinals...Pence had a 15-game hitting streak earlier in the season. His 19-game hitting streak is the club's longest since Miguel Tejada's 21-gamer at the end of the 2009 season...The win snapped Houston's five-game losing streak to St. Louis.
- ST. LOUIS: 1
Jun 8 10:55 PM
- Jason Bourgeois grounded out to first to end the inning.
Cardinals 1, Astros 4 End 8Jun 8 10:46 PM
- Lance Berkman two-out, solo Home Run (14) to right to break-up Bud Norris no-hitter. Colby Rasmus due up.
Cardinals 1, Astros 3 Top 7, 2 OutsJun 8 10:08 PM
- Jason Michaels single to left scored Jason Bourgeois with two out. On the play, Carlos Lee advances to second. Runners on first and second and Chris Johnson due up.
Cardinals 0, Astros 3 Bot 5, 2 OutsJun 8 9:34 PM
- Carlos Lee grounded out short to first scored Hunter Pence with two out. None on and Jason Michaels due up.
Cardinals 0, Astros 2 Bot 3, 2 OutsJun 8 9:03 PM
- Hunter Pence triple to center scored Jeff Keppinger with one out. Runner on third and Carlos Lee due up.
Cardinals 0, Astros 1 Bot 3, 1 OutJun 8 9:01 PM
- ST. LOUIS: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Jun 8 8:08 PM
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