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Cardinals tie wild card with victory over Astros

Sep 28, 2011 - 5:46 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The Cardinals improbably control their own postseason fate after coming back and destroying the Astros, 13-6, in the penultimate game of the regular season.

St. Louis trailed wild card-leading Atlanta by 10 1/2 games on August 25, but its recent 15-5 stretch, coupled with the Braves' swoon, evened the clubs' record at 89-72 with one game remaining. If a tiebreaker is needed, the Cardinals will serve as host on Thursday.

Allen Craig, playing as an injury replacement for Matt Holliday (hand), went 2-for-3 with a home run, three runs scored and four driven in for the Cardinals, who trailed 5-0 before rallying to keep its playoff chances afloat.

"There's a different story between tying and finishing it off, so we have another step," Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa said.

Chris Carpenter has the task of starting Wednesday's finale opposite Brett Myers.

Enerio Del Rosario (0-3) was charged with three runs in St. Louis' game- changing four-run seventh to take the loss.

Rosario gave up a game-tying, RBI double to Craig and exited with two on and two outs. Wesley Wright entered from the bullpen and was greeted by Ryan Theriot's pinch-hit triple to the gap in right for an 8-6 edge.

Nick Punto knocked in Theriot with a double and added his first home run of the season in the ninth. Craig had extended the lead by that point with a three-run blast to left.

"They have guys on their bench right now that for a lot of teams would be playing," Astros reliever Wesley Wright said of St. Louis' depth. "They can take out guys and replace them with guys that are just as good if not better."

Eduardo Sanchez (3-1) earned the win in relief of Jake Westbrook, who was pounded for five runs on seven hits in just 2 1/3 innings. His counterpart, Henry Sosa, wasn't much better, surrendering five runs over 3 1/3 frames.

Houston dominated early on, starting with right fielder Brian Bogusevic throwing David Freese out at home in the first frame.

J.R. Towles' sacrifice fly scored Carlos Lee in the second, and two-run hits from Brett Wallace and Jimmy Paredes an inning later made it 5-0.

The Cardinals erased the deficit in the fourth, however. With the bases loaded and one out, Yadier Molina singled home a run and Skip Schumaker cleared the bags with a double to left-center before scoring on Jon Jay's sacrifice fly.

The Astros put their first three hitters on base in the fifth, only to get one run across on Paredes' double-play grounder.

Game Notes

Seven Cardinals relievers combined to allow just four hits in 6 2/3 innings...Punto had four hits and Lance Berkman added three in the Cardinals' 17-hit attack.






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  • Nick Punto one-out, solo Home Run (1) to right. Daniel Descalso due up.

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  • Allen Craig two-out, three-run Home Run (10) to left scored Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman. Yadier Molina due up.

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  • Allen Craig double to right center scored Lance Berkman with two out. Runner on second with two outs and Yadier Molina due up.

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  • Jimmy Paredes double play to short scored Brian Bogusevic. Brett Wallace out at second. Carlos Lee advances to third. Runner on third with two outs and Clint Barmes due up.

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  • Marc Rzepczynski starts the inning for the Cardinals.

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  • Skip Schumaker double to left center scored Lance Berkman, Allen Craig and Yadier Molina with one out. Runner on second with one out and Nick Punto due up.

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  • Yadier Molina single to right scored David Freese with one out. On the play, Allen Craig advances to second and Lance Berkman advances to third. Bases loaded with one out and Skip Schumaker due up.

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  • Jimmy Paredes triple to center scored Carlos Lee and Brett Wallace with one out. Runner on third with one out and Clint Barmes due up.

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  • Brett Wallace single to right scored Jose Altuve and Brian Bogusevic with one out. On the play, Carlos Lee advances to third. Runners on first and third with one out and Jimmy Paredes due up.

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  • J.R. Towles sacrifice fly to right scored Carlos Lee with two out. Runners on first and second with two outs and Henry Sosa due up.

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