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Cards use explosive offense to sweep Astros

Aug 24, 2012 - 1:45 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Matt Holliday highlighted a five-run fifth inning with a go-ahead three-run double as the St. Louis Cardinals finished off a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 13-5 rout at Busch Stadium.

Holliday finished with four RBI, David Freese crushed a three-run home run and added an RBI single, while Allen Craig went 3-for-5 with three RBI and Rafael Furcal and Yadier Molina drove in runs for the defending World Series champs, who have won four of their last five games.

"It was one of the biggest games of the year to close out the sweep against these guys," Craig said. "We weren't really swinging very well, but to turn it around the way we did was huge."

Jake Westbrook (13-9) wasn't sharp, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks, but he just did enough over five innings to get his sixth win in his last seven decisions.

Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI, while Scott Moore and starter Dallas Keuchel added RBI for the Astros, who lost for the seventh consecutive time.

Keuchel (1-6) allowed six runs -- five earned -- on five hits and a walk over just four-plus innings.

"Keuchel pitched good through the first three innings," Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "I was pleased, he kept the ball down, but you get to the fourth inning and we had a two-out walk. Molina hits a double down the line, and then a three-run homer and they're back in the game."

Trailing, 5-3, heading into the fifth, the Cards took control of the game with five runs in the frame. Furcal started the big inning with a base hit and pinch-hitter Ryan Jackson followed with a single and Jon Jay reached on a throwing error by Brett Wallace to load the bases.

Keuchel was pulled in favor of Hector Ambriz, but he allowed an RBI single to Craig before surrendering Holliday's double -- a rocket into the left-center field gap -- to put the Cards ahead, 7-5. Molina gave St. Louis a three-run lead later in the inning with an RBI base hit.

Craig doubled home Jay in the sixth to make it a 9-5 game and the Cards tacked on four more runs in the eighth.

Pinch-hitter Shane Robinson started the frame with a two-bagger and scored on a single by Furcal. Craig and Holliday stroked consecutive RBI base hits and Freese capped the scoring with a bases-loaded infield single.

Earlier, Houston opened the scoring with a run in its first at-bat. Wallace got things started with a two-out double and came around to score when Ben Francisco hit one back to Westbrook, but the St. Louis starter fired it over the head of Craig.

Moore was plunked to start the Houston second inning and Fernando Martinez doubled down the line in right to put runners on second and third. Keuchel lofted a sacrifice fly to left and Altuve drove in Martinez with a single for a 3-0 Astros lead.

Altuve brought home Martinez with a sac fly in the fourth, extending the lead to 4-0.

Freese pulled the Cardinals within one in the home portion of the inning after he clubbed a changeup from Keuchel into the bullpen in right field for a three-run shot.

A sac fly by Moore in the fifth extended the Houston lead to 5-3, but Cards took control of the game in the bottom half.

Game Notes

Prior to Thursday's effort, Keuchel had registered quality starts in his last three outings ... The Astros fell to 12-51 on the road this season ... St. Louis outhit Houston, 17-11 ...The Astros finished 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base ...Houston fell to 8-10 at Busch Stadium since the start of the 2010 season.








  • HOUSTON: 5
    ST. LOUIS: 13
    Final

    Aug 23 5:05 PM


  • David Freese single to short scored Allen Craig with two outs. On the play, Tony Cruz advances to second and Matt Holliday advances to third. Bases loaded and Shane Robinson due up.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 13  Bot 8, 2 OutsAug 23 4:50 PM
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    Astros 5, Cardinals 13  Bot 8, 2 OutsAug 23 4:50 PM


  • Matt Holliday single to right scored Jon Jay with one out. On the play, Allen Craig advances to second. Runners on first and second and Carlos Beltran due up.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 12  Bot 8, 1 OutAug 23 4:46 PM


  • Allen Craig single to right scored Rafael Furcal with one out. On the play, Jon Jay advances to second. Runners on first and second and Matt Holliday due up.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 11  Bot 8, 1 OutAug 23 4:42 PM
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    Astros 5, Cardinals 11  Bot 8, 1 OutAug 23 4:42 PM


  • Rafael Furcal single to right scored Shane Robinson with none out. Runner on first and Skip Schumaker due up.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 10  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 23 4:30 PM


  • Matt Holliday flied out to center to end the inning.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 9  End 6Aug 23 4:02 PM
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    Astros 5, Cardinals 9  End 6Aug 23 4:02 PM


  • Yadier Molina single to right scored Matt Holliday with one out. None on with two outs and David Freese due up.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 8  Bot 5, 2 OutsAug 23 3:29 PM


  • Matt Holliday double to left center scored Ryan Jackson, Jon Jay and Allen Craig with none out. Runner on second and Carlos Beltran due up.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 7  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 23 3:25 PM
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    Astros 5, Cardinals 7  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 23 3:25 PM


  • Allen Craig singled to second scored Rafael Furcal. On the play, Jon Jay advances to second and Ryan Jackson advances to third. Bases loaded with none out and Matt Holliday due up.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 23 3:23 PM
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    Astros 5, Cardinals 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 23 3:18 PM
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    Astros 5, Cardinals 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 23 3:13 PM
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    Astros 5, Cardinals 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 23 3:10 PM


  • Scott Moore sacrifice fly to right scored Ben Francisco with two outs. Runner on first and Fernando Martinez due up.

    Astros 5, Cardinals 3  Top 5, 2 OutsAug 23 3:03 PM
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    Astros 4, Cardinals 3  Top 5, 1 OutAug 23 2:56 PM


  • David Freese two-out, three-run Home Run (17) to right scored Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina. Daniel Descalso due up.

    Astros 4, Cardinals 3  Bot 4, 2 OutsAug 23 2:50 PM
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    Astros 4, Cardinals 0  Bot 4, 2 OutsAug 23 2:48 PM


  • Jose Altuve sacrifice fly to center scored Fernando Martinez with two outs. None on and Brian Bogusevic due up.

    Astros 4, Cardinals 0  Top 4, 2 OutsAug 23 2:39 PM
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    Astros 3, Cardinals 0  Top 4, 1 OutAug 23 2:36 PM
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    Astros 3, Cardinals 0  Mid 3Aug 23 2:26 PM
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    Astros 3, Cardinals 0  Bot 2, 1 OutAug 23 2:18 PM


  • Jose Altuve singled to right scored Fernando Martinez with one out. Runner on first and Brian Bogusevic due up.

    Astros 3, Cardinals 0  Top 2, 1 OutAug 23 2:13 PM


  • Dallas Keuchel sacrifice fly out to left scored Scott Moore. Runner on second with one out and Jose Altuve due up.

    Astros 2, Cardinals 0  Top 2, 1 OutAug 23 2:13 PM


  • Ben Francisco singled to pitcher. On the play, Brett Wallace scored on Jake Westbrook's throwing error with two out. Runner on first and Jason Castro due up.

    Astros 1, Cardinals 0  Top 1, 2 OutsAug 23 1:52 PM


  • HOUSTON: 0
    ST. LOUIS: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Aug 23 1:45 PM
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    Astros vs. CardinalsDec 20 6:02 AM