for this game

Rolen lifts Cardinals over Astros

May 7, 2007 - 12:18 PM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Scott Rolen's struggles have typified those of the St. Louis Cardinals of late. That finally changed Sunday.

Rolen snapped a lengthy slump with a two-run single, helping the Cardinals to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the rubber game of a three-game set.

Converted reliever Braden Looper (4-2) continued his strong start to the season, giving up one run and six hits in six innings.

Russ Springer and Ryan Franklin each pitched a scoreless inning before closer Jason Isringhausen worked around a single in the ninth for his eighth save of the season and second of the series.

Mired in an 0-for-23 slump, Rolen delivered the key hit in the Cardinals' three-run fourth inning. The All-Star third baseman had gone hitless in his previous six games, during which St. Louis managed a scant total of seven runs and was shut out twice.

"Today is a new day," Rolen said. "And at a good time too. It was a big time in the game. I was able to concentrate and put a good swing on the ball."

Held down through three innings by Astros starter Chris Sampson, the Cardinals finally generated some offense in the fourth.

Adam Kennedy drew a leadoff walk and Chris Duncan followed with a double to left field that ticked off the glove of Luke Scott. After slugger Albert Pujols popped out, Jim Edmonds walked to load the bases for Rolen, who gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead with a single to center field. It was Rolen's first hit since April 27.

"I feel like I swung the bat better," Rolen said. "When you're struggling, you find yourself swinging at balls, but I think I struck out only one time in 24 at-bats. If you can get back in the zone and try to see the ball, hopefully things will turn out better and get some balls to fall in."

Edmonds scored the third run on Ryan Ludwick's infield groundout for a 3-1 lead.

Sampson (3-2) gave up three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He was scheduled to pitch Friday night but missed the first two games of the series with sinusitis, which landed him in the hospital for an overnight stay Thursday.

"I knew I was good enough to go out there and pitch," Sampson said. "For how long was to be determined. I pitched good three innings, then the fourth inning it seemed that I hit a wall real fast. Mechanically and physically I just couldn't get the ball where I wanted."

The Astros had taken a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat. Morgan Ensberg drew a one-out walk off Looper, moved to second on an infield grounder and scored on Carlos Lee's single to left field.

Looper struck out three and walked two in bouncing back from a 12-2 loss to Milwaukee in his previous start.

"I was conscious early of balancing myself," said Looper who threw 59 of 100 pitches for strikes. "It wasn't easy today, nothing came easy, it's not supposed to be that much work. But luckily I was able to battle through it and make some really good pitches when I needed to."

Looper has allowed six hits or fewer in five of his seven starts.

"I think he did a really good job of working with what he had," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "I think overall he wasn't quite as overpowering as he can be but he never gave in, kept pitching, and got better."

With the exception of Saturday's 13-run outburst, Houston has also struggled offensively, scoring three runs or fewer in eight of its last 11 games.

The Astros threatened in the eighth against Franklin, the third pitcher for St. Louis.

Lance Berkman had a one-out single, extending his streak of reaching base to 24 games. Lee followed with a single, giving him his third three-hit game in his last five contests. He is 11-for-18 in that span.

Franklin escaped the jam by retiring Scott on a groundout and rookie Hunter Pence on a flyout to center.

"We didn't have too many runners on," Berkman said. "We didn't get that many chances, today was a rough day for the offense."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 10 0
    ST LOUIS 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 x 3 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - CHRIS SAMPSON, TREVER MILLER (5TH), BRAD LIDGE (7TH), CHAD
    QUALLS (8TH) AND BRAD AUSMUS
    STL - BRADEN LOOPER, RUSS SPRINGER (7TH), RYAN FRANKLIN
    (8TH), JASON

    May 6 5:13 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY RYAN LUDWICK SCORED JIM EDMONDS.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, S ROLEN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1
    ST LOUIS 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: G BENNETT (.308, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. CardinalsMay 6 3:31 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY SCOTT ROLEN SCORED ADAM KENNEDY AND CHRIS DUNCAN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, S ROLEN ON SECOND, J EDMONDS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1
    ST LOUIS 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: R LUDWICK (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. CardinalsMay 6 3:30 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 1 1 1 0
    ST LOUIS 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: HOU - CHRIS SAMPSON
    STL - BRADEN LOOPER

    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A KENNEDY (.211, 0 HR, 5 RBI)
    C DUNCAN (.323, 5 HR, 11 RBI)
    A PUJOLS (.274, 6 HR, 17 RBI)

    Astros vs. CardinalsMay 6 2:26 PM