St. Louis at Houston

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St. Louis «3000031007110
Houston001000020370

Cardinals use homers, Carpenter to nail Astros

SportsLine.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- With one swing by Jim Edmonds, the St. Louis Cardinals finally took a lead.

From there, the Cardinals had little trouble remembering how to win again.

"That got rid of all the tension," Reggie Sanders said after the Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 7-3 Tuesday night in a season-opening rematch of the 2004 NL championship series. "It relaxed us."

Edmonds homered in the first inning, and Sanders and Larry Walker also connected for the Cardinals.

St. Louis rallied from a 3-2 series deficit against Houston to win the NL pennant last October but never held a lead after that, getting swept by Boston in the World Series.

In this one, the Cardinals went ahead 3-0 on Edmonds' drive and never trailed, ending Houston's 18-game, regular-season home winning streak, the longest in the major leagues since Cleveland won 18 in a row at Jacobs Field in May and June 1994.

Chris Carpenter, who missed the postseason because of nerve damage in his right biceps, won by allowing one run and four hits in seven innings.

"He was excellent. He did all the things a pitcher has to do to be successful," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He got off to a good start tonight."

Al Reyes, Julian Tavarez and Ray King followed, and Jason Isringhausen retired Adam Everett on a bases-loaded grounder for the save.

Shortstop David Eckstein, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek and catcher Yadier Molina, three newscomers to the St. Louis lineup, went a combined 2-for-12 with three strikeouts.

But St. Louis had more than enough offense. Edmonds had four RBI, and Walker went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the seventh.

For Edmonds, it was yet another chance to torment the Astros: He hit the game-winning homer in the 12th inning of Game 6 last October.

"Some teams ... you have their number. And some teams you don't," Sanders said. "Jimmy definitely has Houston's number."

Houston has a new look following an offseason of attrition. All-Stars Jeff Kent and Carlos Beltran departed in free agency, and All-Star right fielder Lance Berkman tore up a knee playing flag football and began the season on the disabled list.

That forced the Astros to start two rookie outfielders on opening day for the first time since 1986.

Making his third straight opening-day start, Roy Oswalt looked nothing like the guy picked to start over seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens.

Oswalt, the NL's only 20-game winner in 2004, gave up six runs and seven hits in six innings.

"I felt pretty well, but in between innings I felt pretty stiff," Oswalt said. "I think I had too much adrenaline going. I'm not happy about losing, but it's a long season."

Oswalt gave up a one-out single to Walker in the first, a two-out infield hit to Scott Rolen and Edmonds' homer on a fastball driven deep into the left-field seats.

Albert Pujols led off the sixth with a single, Rolen doubled and Edmonds hit a sacrifice fly. Oswalt struck out Grudzielanek, then gave up a two-run homer to Sanders, which put St. Louis ahead 6-1.

Craig Biggio had three hits and three RBIs for the Astros. Biggio also fielded well at second base, a position he played in Houston for 11 years before moving to the outfield two years ago to make room for Kent.

"It's fun to be back at second base," Biggio said. "I made some double plays with Adam (Everett), and I enjoyed that. No doubt I still had butterflies."

Notes

  • The Astros' rookie outfielders were LF Luke Scott and CF Willy Taveras. In 1986, it was Eric Bullock and Tony Walker. Taveras and Scott combined to go 1-for-6, with Taveras scoring a run in the third.
  • Oswalt had won four straight decisions against St. Louis dating to September 2003.
  • The attendance of 43,567 was the third-largest crowd in Minute Maid Park history. The park's two biggest crowds came Oct. 3-4, 2001, against San Francisco.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Chris Carpenter keeps the game under control for the Cardinals with seven strong innings. (AP)
Chris Carpenter keeps the game under control for the Cardinals with seven strong innings. (AP)

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St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS5010010 .200
Larry Walker, RF5231001 .600
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Albert Pujols, 1B5120001 .400
Scott Rolen, 3B5220013 .400
Jim Edmonds, CF2114100 .500
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4010011 .250
Reggie Sanders, LF3112101 .333
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    John Mabry, RF0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C4000003 .000
Chris Carpenter, P3000000 .000
    Al Reyes, P0000000 .000
    So Taguchi, LF1000000 .000
Totals3771172310 
Batting
2B - Scott Rolen (1, Oswalt)
HR - Larry Walker (1, Springer), Jim Edmonds (1, Oswalt), Reggie Sanders (1, Oswalt)
SF - Jim Edmonds (1)
RBI - Larry Walker (1), Jim Edmonds 4 (4), Reggie Sanders 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Larry Walker (1), Jim Edmonds 3 (3), Reggie Sanders 2 (2)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Eckstein-Grudzielanek-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,1-0) 7411020 1.29
Al Reyes 0.2222100 27.00
Julian Tavarez 0.1000110 0.00
Ray King 0.2100100 0.00
Jason Isringhausen (S,1) 0.1000100 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 97-63, Al Reyes 21-11, Julian Tavarez 11-4, Ray King 12-5, Jason Isringhausen 6-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 13-5, Al Reyes 1-1, Ray King 1-1, Jason Isringhausen 1-0
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 24, Al Reyes 5, Julian Tavarez 2, Ray King 4, Jason Isringhausen 2
Houston Astros
Adam Everett, SS4100104 .000
Craig Biggio, 2B4033000 .750
Jeff Bagwell, 1B3000112 .000
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4000012 .000
Luke Scott, LF3000010 .000
   a- Chris Burke, PH1000000 .000
Jason Lane, RF4010000 .250
Brad Ausmus, C3000101 .000
Willy Taveras, CF4120000 .500
Roy Oswalt, P1000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Chad Harville, P0000000 .000
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH11100001.000
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
   c- Jose Vizcaino, PH0000100 .000
Totals32373439 
a-popped out for Scott in the 9th
b-doubled for Harville in the 8th
c-walked for Wheeler in the 9th
Batting
2B - Craig Biggio (1, Reyes), Jason Lane (1, Carpenter), Willy Taveras (1, King), Orlando Palmeiro (1, Reyes)
SH - Roy Oswalt (1)
RBI - Craig Biggio 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Craig Biggio 3 (3)
SB - Craig Biggio (1, 3rd base off Tavarez/Molina)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Everett-Biggio-Bagwell
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt (L,0-1) 6766122 9.00
Russ Springer 1111001 9.00
Chad Harville 1100100 0.00
Dan Wheeler 1200010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 106-67, Russ Springer 14-8, Chad Harville 13-7, Dan Wheeler 15-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 8-8, Russ Springer 3-0, Chad Harville 1-2, Dan Wheeler 2-0
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 26, Russ Springer 4, Chad Harville 5, Dan Wheeler 5
Game Information
Attendance - 43567
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Ed Montague, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Tony Randazzo