for this game

Astros down Cardinals

Jul 29, 2011 - 6:22 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Carlos Lee went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, helping the Houston Astros defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-3.

The top five hitters in the Astros' lineup combined for eight hits and four RBI, and Wandy Rodriguez (7-7) and the Houston bullpen set down the final 19 hitters they faced to earn a four-game series split.

Rodriguez was charged with three runs -- one earned -- on five hits to go with six strikeouts.

"Wandy was super. He didn't let the unearned runs bother him," Astros manager Brad Mills said.

Albert Pujols doubled twice and knocked in a run for the Cardinals, who had won five of six before dropping the final two games of the set.

Jaime Garcia (10-5) was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over six frames.

"He was OK. He certainly didn't stink up the joint, but he wasn't as good as he usually is," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of his starter.

The unearned run Garcia allowed proved to be the game-winner, as Rodriguez reached on David Freese's error leading off the fifth and scored the go-ahead run on Jason Bourgeois' double.

Lee opened the next inning with his 10th home run of the season, and St. Louis never threatened from there. Sergio Escalona hurled a perfect eighth behind Rodriguez, and Mark Melancon set the hosts down in succession in the ninth to post his 10th save of the year.

Three players were injured in St. Louis' loss, including two catchers. Regular backstop Yadier Molina was summoned from the bench late in the game after Gerald Laird injured his hand in the second inning and his replacement, Tony Cruz, exited in the eighth after taking a foul ball off his right hand. Second baseman Nick Punto also left early with a strained left oblique muscle.

Michael Bourn got the game started with a leadoff ground-rule double, then stole third and scored on Jose Altuve's sacrifice fly.

A throwing error on a single by Corey Patterson allowed two Cardinals to score in the third, and back-to-back doubles by Jon Jay and Pujols an inning later made it 3-1.

Lee helped the Astros tie things in the fourth, singling in Hunter Pence and scoring on Chris Johnson's sacrifice fly.

Game Notes

Garcia fell to 0-3 in his career against Houston. The lefty had won six of seven decisions at home this season...Rodriguez snapped a three-decision losing streak...Pence doubled twice for Houston...Patterson was acquired from the Blue Jays in an eight-player trade on Wednesday.