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Bennett, Cardinals use seven-run ninth inning to beat Astros

Jun 2, 2007 - 5:44 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Gary Bennett is filling in just fine for Yadier Molina.

Bennett homered and drove in three runs to spark a seven-run ninth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals posted an 8-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday.

In his third game catching in place of the injured Molina, Bennett followed Juan Encarnacion's tie-breaking homer with one of his own and added a two-run double as the Cardinals sent 13 men to the plate in the decisive inning.

Molina, the team's everyday catcher, is out four to six weeks with a broken right wrist suffered on Tuesday.

Bennett was as surprised as anyone about his big inning.

"Two hits in one inning?" Bennett said. "I probably haven't had two at-bats in one inning since Little League, since I was 10 or 11 years old.

"I just tried to go to the plate and make a good swing. All I was focusing on was having good at-bats. Adam (Wainwright) gave us a great performance, and we couldn't waste it."

After Encarnacion led off the frame by blasting a 3-2 offering from reliever Chad Qualls (4-3) off the brick facade in left field for a 2-1 lead, Bennett hit the very next pitch off the foul poll.

Bennett added a two-run double off Dan Wheeler for an 8-1 lead to help St. Louis to its third straight win.

Scott Spiezio, who was forced into action when Scott Rolen left with a leg injury in the third, had two hits and a pair of RBI for the Cardinals.

Ryan Franklin (2-0) relieved Wainwright and threw a scoreless eighth and Russ Springer pitched a scoreless ninth for the Cardinals, who have won five of the seven meetings with Houston this season.

Both teams were stymied by the starters as Roy Oswalt and Wainwright dueled for seven innings.

Oswalt, who allowed six runs in his last start, yielded just one unearned run and four hits while striking out four. He retired the first eight hitters he faced before allowing a hit to Wainwright.

The hard-throwing ace admitted it's draining to have to try and pitch when he knows one mistake may be the difference. The Astros have scored more than three runs just three times in their last 10 games.

"It's tough," Oswalt said. "Going out there and trying to throw perfect games is tough mentally. It's just hard to throw up zeros.

"You get out there, and you get in a situation where you feel like you have to throw a perfect game. ... You go out there and throw up zeros every inning, and if you give up one or two it's an uphill battle the rest of the game."

Houston manager Phil Garner echoed his ace pitcher's sentiments

"I'm terribly disappointed in the way we played tonight," Garner said. "I keep saying it. I keep believing it. I think we're a better offensive ballclub than we're showing. But we've got to start showing it pretty soon here. Oswalt pitched well and we didn't do anything for him."

The Houston offense was held in check by Wainwright, who allowed one run and four hits with six strikeouts and four walks. The righthander struggled in the first, allowing a double and two walks, but got out of the inning and did allow another hit until the sixth.

"After the first inning, I felt fine," Wainwright said. "I recognized my problem and was able to fix it pretty quick. I knew Oswalt was going to deal - he always does - so you have to be on top of your game. I knew I had to bring my A game tonight.

St. Louis got on the board in the fourth when Albert Pujols led off with a single and tried to take third on a sacrifice by Jim Edmonds. Pujols' agressive play forced Lance Berkman to committed a throwing error on the play, allowing Pujols to score.

Houston, which snapped a 10-game losing streak on Thursday, got even in the sixth when Carlos Lee drove home a run with a double off Wainwright.

Lee battled through a 14-pitch a-bat, fouling off nine, before connecting on a double to center field that scored rookie Hunter Pence.

Pence had two hits for Houston, which has lost 11 of 12 and has not won two straight since winning four in a row from May 12-16.

The Cardinals also lost shortstop David Eckstein in the fifth when he was drilled in the elbow by a fastball from Oswalt.








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

    BATTERIES: STL - ADAM WAINWRIGHT, RYAN FRANKLIN (8TH), RUSS SPRINGER (9TH) AND
    GARY BENNETT
    HOU - ROY OSWALT, CHAD QUALLS (8TH), TREVER MILLER
    (9TH), DAN WHEELER (9TH), BRIAN

    Jun 1 11:19 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY GARY BENNETT SCORED ALBERT PUJOLS AND KIP WELLS.
    SITUATION: 7 RUNS IN, G BENNETT ON SECOND, J ENCARNACION ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 8
    HOUSTON 1 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A KENNEDY (.225, 0-FOR-2, BB, HBP)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 11:05 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KIP WELLS SCORED SCOTT SPIEZIO.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, K WELLS ON FIRST, A PUJOLS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 6
    HOUSTON 1 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: J ENCARNACION (.224, 1-FOR-4, HR, RBI)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 11:00 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY SCOTT SPIEZIO SCORED ADAM KENNEDY AND RYAN
    LUDWICK.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, S SPIEZIO ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5
    HOUSTON 1 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.295, 1-FOR-4)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 10:55 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY GARY BENNETT (1) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF CHAD QUALLS.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 3, HOUSTON 1
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A KENNEDY (.225, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 10:42 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JUAN ENCARNACION (1) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 9TH OFF CHAD QUALLS.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 2, HOUSTON 1
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: G BENNETT (.236, 0-FOR-3)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 10:42 PM
  • 5
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 10:42 PM
  • 40
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 25 roots (Close Finish)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 10:42 PM
  • 65
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 60 roots (Close Finish)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 10:37 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED HUNTER PENCE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C LEE ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: L SCOTT (.233, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 9:52 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY LANCE BERKMAN ALLOWED ALBERT PUJOLS TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: S TAGUCHI (.247, 1 HR, 7 RBI)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 8:58 PM
  • 5
    roots
    trevo3 Added 5 roots

    Cardinals vs. AstrosJun 1 5:37 PM