Houston at St. Louis

St. Louis
W: J. Marquis (3-0) L: B. Duckworth (0-1)
S: J. Isringhausen (6)
HR: HOU - M. Ensberg (2)   STL - None

Cardinals' bullpen nearly blows seven-run lead in win over Astros

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Marquis remained calm, even as his seven-run lead all but evaporated.

So Taguchi and Mark Grudzielanek each hit a two-run double, and the St. Louis Cardinals' previously untouchable bullpen withstood a mid-game meltdown before holding on for an 8-7 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

"It was not too bad," Marquis said. "Obviously, we had a big enough cushion in case something like what happened, happened."

Marquis (3-0) had two hits and scored twice for the Cardinals, who have won seven of eight. But he labored through 5 2/3 innings, striking out eight and throwing 108 pitches. After leading 8-1 in the sixth, St. Louis needed four relievers to end the Astros' three-game winning streak while Marquis watched helplessly.

"I was just thinking back on pitches I could have made and should have made," Marquis said. "You've got to take these wins as they come."

The Cardinals' bullpen hadn't allowed a run in 17 1/3 innings over a nine-game span and entered this three-game series with a 3.34 ERA. St. Louis used four pitchers in the Astros' five-run sixth, when Randy Flores hit the only batter he faced with a pitch and Al Reyes gave up a three-run double to Adam Everett before Julian Tavarez induced Jason Lane into a force play with the bases loaded to end the inning.

"It's frustrating to battle back from that far down and not win," Lane said. "It showed a lot that we just didn't roll over after they got that big lead."

In the seventh, Tavarez gave up a home run to Morgan Ensberg that narrowed the gap to 8-7. Then Tavarez settled down, retiring six of the next eight hitters.

"I stopped the team from bleeding," Tavarez said. "That's one thing that really makes me happy, coming out of the bullpen and getting the job done."

Jason Isringhausen worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save in six chances.

Astros starter Brandon Duckworth (0-1) walked three and had a throwing error in the Cardinals' five-run second. Taguchi had a two-run double and scored on Yadier Molina's slow roller down the third-base line when Duckworth slipped on the wet grass and threw well wide of first base for a hit and an error.

"He dug his own grave, really," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "The first time he got in trouble he walked two hitters. That hurt and the momentum shifted."

Grudzielanek's two-run double plus a sacrifice fly by Jim Edmonds in the fourth made it 8-1.

The Astros benefited from three walks and two hit batters in the sixth, with Willy Taveras' two-run single chasing Marquis. He was charged with five runs and seven hits, but he won his third consecutive start.

Duckworth, making his second start of the season, allowed eight runs and eight hits in four innings with four walks and no strikeouts.

"Tonight wasn't indicative of what I can do," Duckworth said. "You have to move on and keep on battling. I put us behind the 8-ball."


  • Cardinals pitchers hadn't allowed more than one run in an inning for five consecutive games.
  • Ensberg, who had been 4-for-4 against Marquis, struck out in all three at-bats against the right-hander.
  • 1B Albert Pujols made a nifty scoop of Tavarez's hurried one-bounce throw on Taveras' sacrifice bunt in the seventh, then was clipped on his left foot when Taveras crossed the bag. He limped around for a few seconds but stayed in the game.
  • Lane was 0-for-4 with a walk after going 10-for-20 his previous four games.
  • The Cardinals had homered in 10 games in a row.
  • Everett drove in three runs for the first time since July 24, 2004, at Arizona.
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Jason Marquis tallies two hits and two runs, while improving to 3-0 on the mound.  (Getty Images)
Jason Marquis tallies two hits and two runs, while improving to 3-0 on the mound. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

J. Marquis
IP 5.2
H 7
ER 5
BB 3
K 8

W. Taveras
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Houston Astros
Adam Everett, SS4013111 .203
Craig Biggio, 2B4020001 .344
Jeff Bagwell, 1B2001201 .207
Jason Lane, RF4100106 .348
Morgan Ensberg, 3B5121031 .294
Chris Burke, LF4100131 .241
Raul Chavez, C5130011 .318
Willy Taveras, CF4122012 .327
Brandon Duckworth, P1110000 .667
   a- Luke Scott, PH1000011 .158
    Chad Harville, P0000000 .000
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH0100000 .375
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
   c- Mike Lamb, PH1000001 .222
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Duckworth in the 5th
b-hit by pitch for Harville in the 6th
c-popped out for Springer in the 7th
2B - Adam Everett (5, Reyes), Craig Biggio (7, Marquis)
HR - Morgan Ensberg (2, Tavarez)
SF - Jeff Bagwell (3)
SH - Willy Taveras (1)
RBI - Adam Everett 3 (8), Jeff Bagwell (9), Morgan Ensberg (7), Willy Taveras 2 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Everett 3 (4), Willy Taveras 2 (2)
Team LOB - 10
Outfield Assists - Chris Burke 1
E - Brandon Duckworth (1, Wild throw)
Houston Astros
Brandon Duckworth (L,0-1) 4888400 12.60
Chad Harville 1100000 3.86
Russ Springer 1000110 4.26
Dan Wheeler 2000120 2.08
HBP - Pujols (by Brandon Duckworth)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Duckworth 84-46, Chad Harville 8-6, Russ Springer 12-6, Dan Wheeler 25-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Duckworth 5-6, Chad Harville 1-2, Russ Springer 1-1, Dan Wheeler 3-1
Batters Faced - Brandon Duckworth 24, Chad Harville 4, Russ Springer 4, Dan Wheeler 7
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4110103 .286
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5112002 .224
Albert Pujols, 1B4011011 .295
Jim Edmonds, CF2111100 .279
Scott Rolen, 3B3110112 .233
Reggie Sanders, LF2100201 .227
So Taguchi, RF4112000 .389
Yadier Molina, C4011002 .152
Jason Marquis, P2220100 .333
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    Al Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
   a- Larry Walker, PH1000010 .213
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Tavarez in the 8th
2B - Mark Grudzielanek (2, Duckworth), Scott Rolen (5, Duckworth), So Taguchi (1, Duckworth), Jason Marquis (1, Duckworth)
SF - Jim Edmonds (2)
RBI - Mark Grudzielanek 2 (4), Albert Pujols (9), Jim Edmonds (11), So Taguchi 2 (7), Yadier Molina (2)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (4)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Rolen-Grudzielanek-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Jason Marquis (W,3-0) 5.2755380 2.77
Randy Flores0011000 6.43
Al Reyes0100100 2.84
Julian Tavarez (H,2) 2.1211111 7.04
Jason Isringhausen (S,6) 1100010 1.35
HBP - Palmeiro (by Randy Flores), Biggio (by Al Reyes)
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Marquis 108-62, Randy Flores 1-0, Al Reyes 16-6, Julian Tavarez 38-24, Jason Isringhausen 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Marquis 5-3, Julian Tavarez 2-4, Jason Isringhausen 1-1
Batters Faced - Jason Marquis 26, Randy Flores 1, Al Reyes 3, Julian Tavarez 10, Jason Isringhausen 4
Game Information
Attendance - 44805
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 50
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Brian Runge, Second Base - Charlie Reliford, Third Base - Angel A. Hernandez