Astros down CardinalsJul 29, 2011 - 6:22 AM
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.
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.
- HOUSTON: 5
ST. LOUIS: 3
Jul 28 11:05 PM
- Carlos Lee lead-off Home Run (10) to left. Chris Johnson due up.
Astros 5, Cardinals 3 Top 6, 0 OutsJul 28 9:57 PM
- Jason Bourgeois double to left scored Wandy Rodriguez with two outs. Runner on second and Hunter Pence due up.
Astros 4, Cardinals 3 Top 5, 2 OutsJul 28 9:42 PM
- Chris Johnson sacrifice fly to left scored Carlos Lee with two outs. None on and Clint Barmes due up.
Astros 3, Cardinals 3 Top 4, 2 OutsJul 28 9:19 PM
- Carlos Lee single to left scored Hunter Pence with one out. Runner on first and Chris Johnson due up.
Astros 2, Cardinals 3 Top 4, 1 OutJul 28 9:16 PM
- Albert Pujols double to right scored Jon Jay with one out. Runner on second and Matt Holliday due up.
Astros 1, Cardinals 3 Bot 3, 1 OutJul 28 9:05 PM
- Corey Patterson single to center scored Gerald Laird and Ryan Theriot with one out. On the play, Patterson advances to second on Hunter Pence's fielding error. Runner on second and Jaime Garcia due up.
Astros 1, Cardinals 2 Bot 2, 1 OutJul 28 8:50 PM
- Jason Bourgeois infield single to short. Runner on first with one out and Hunter Pence due up.
Astros 1, Cardinals 0 Top 1, 1 OutJul 28 8:20 PM
- HOUSTON: 0
ST. LOUIS: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Jul 28 8:16 PM
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