for this game

Streaking Cardinals spoil Cooper's managerial debut

Aug 29, 2007 - 4:25 AM By Andrew Ferraro PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) - Cecil Cooper's first game as interim manager of the Houston Astros did not turn out as he had planned.

Chris Duncan homered, had a pair of singles and drove in four runs Tuesday as the St. Louis Cardinals trounced the slumping Astros 7-0, a day after Houston fired manager Phil Garner and general manager Tim Purpura.

"This isn't what I planned," Cooper said. "But I got all of the jitters out now and I am ready to go get some wins."

Albert Pujols went 3-for-5 and Aaron Miles hit two doubles and scored a run for the Cardinals (64-64) who are a .500 team for the first time since they were 6-6 on April 16.

"The last three of four games, Chris has really looked like himself," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "But as a whole tonight, I thought everyone really worked the at-bats like they needed to. And then it was Chris again who had a big hit later in the game to keep the momentum on our side."

Braden Looper (11-10) extended his lifetime success against the Astros by pitching a career-high tying seven innings.

Looper gave up just four hits in his longest outing since tossing seven scoreless innings at San Diego on May 12. After allowing his first two runners to reach base to start the game, Looper allowed just three more hits and did not give up an extra base hit until Mark Loretta doubled in the seventh inning.

"We score three runs in the first and I just wanted to try to minimize the damage there in the first inning," Looper said. "Tonight, I just felt like I had real good control of my pitches and it didn't hurt that we got a pretty good lead to begin with.

"I was able to come out and just try to throw strike one and if they put in in play, we'll see what happens."

Looper, who struck out four and walked just one on Tuesday, is now 6-2 in his career against the Astros.

With the win, the Cardinals moved past the Milwaukee Brewers (65-66) into second in the National League Central and gave La Russa his 1,041st win as manager in St. Louis.

"It was real important to get the first game of the three game series," La Russa said. "It's big in this series with (Roy) Oswalt going tomorrow for them."

La Russa is now tied with Red Schoendienst on the team's all-time list and can break the team record in Houston with a win on Wednesday or Thursday.

"You guys know how I feel about that," La Russa said. "I've said it before and I will say it again, Red deserves to be first."

With Looper on his game, the Astros (58-74) didn't have a chance after the first inning as the Cardinals put three quick runs on the board against Woody Williams (8-13) as Duncan launched his 21st homer of the season.

Rick Ankiel hit a one-out single and Jim Edmonds did the same after Williams got Pujols to line out to right field. Duncan then worked Williams to the tune of seven pitches before hitting the last one into the second deck in right field.

Yadier Molina led off the second with a single and later scored on a double by Aaron Miles.

The Cardinals tacked on two more runs in the fifth after chasing Williams. Mark McLemore came on and allowed a pair of RBI singles to Duncan and Scott Rolen before striking out Molina and Looper to end the inning, officially closing the book on Williams who had his first poor start in almost a month.

Williams, who gave up six earned runs in four-plus innings, was looking to extend his season-long winning streak to five games. He had been 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his previous three starts, all wins for the Astros.

"I thought I was doing OK to begin with, but that home run (to Duncan in the first) was a big mistake," Williams said. "I wanted to go down and away with the pitch, but my hand came over and then the ball came back over the plate.

"I threw the ball pretty good to the first three hitters, but I am disappointed I was not able to get out of that first inning."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 3 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 7 16 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: STL - BRADEN LOOPER, RUSS SPRINGER (8TH), TROY PERCIVAL (9TH) AND
    YADIER MOLINA
    HOU - WOODY WILLIAMS, MARK MCLEMORE (5TH), TRAVIS
    DRISKILL (6TH), BRIAN MOEHLER (9T

    Aug 28 11:01 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY RICK ANKIEL SCORED AARON MILES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R ANKIEL ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 7
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.321, 2-FOR-3)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosAug 28 9:48 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY SCOTT ROLEN SCORED ALBERT PUJOLS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, S ROLEN ON FIRST, C DUNCAN ON SECOND, J
    EDMONDS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 6
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: Y MOLINA (.282, 1-FOR-2)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosAug 28 9:31 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CHRIS DUNCAN SCORED RICK ANKIEL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C DUNCAN ON FIRST, J EDMONDS ON SECOND, A
    PUJOLS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: S ROLEN (.264, 0-FOR-2)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosAug 28 9:31 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY AARON MILES SCORED YADIER MOLINA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A MILES ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 4
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: D ECKSTEIN (.294, 0-FOR-1)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosAug 28 8:36 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: STL - BRADEN LOOPER
    HOU - WOODY WILLIAMS

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BIGGIO (.252, 10 HR, 46 RBI)
    H PENCE (.321, 12 HR, 46 RBI)
    L BERKMAN (.272, 24 HR, 82 RBI)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosAug 28 8:17 PM