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St. Louis at Houston

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St. Louis01000200010015131
Houston «0200000011002680

Bruntlett singles Astros past Cardinals in 13 innings

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- After Orlando Palmeiro got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 13th inning to tie the game for Houston, Eric Bruntlett made sure his teammate's pain was worth it.

Bruntlett's RBI single on a full-count pitch with two outs gave the Astros a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

"Those are the kind of moments that make all the 0-for-15s worthwhile," said Bruntlett, a utility infielder who is hitting just .193 this season. "It's a big situation, and I got the job done."

The Astros had already extended the game with homers in the ninth and 10th innings against closer Jason Isringhausen. They won it in the 13th against three pitchers.

With the bases loaded, Palmeiro was the only batter Ray King faced. The Astros outfielder gladly showed the still fire-red spot on his right forearm after the game when he was asked what he thought after getting hit.

"Good question. I don't remember," Palmeiro said. "Once I actually did think, I thought, 'Cool, we tied the game.'"

Brad Ausmus then flied out to short right field against Al Reyes. Bruntlett hit a sinking liner to left that outfielder John Rodriguez couldn't come up with despite a diving attempt.

St. Louis had taken a 5-4 lead when Jim Edmonds led off the 13th with his second homer of the game. It came off Chad Qualls (4-4), who finished the inning and ended up with a victory.

"This is one of the toughest losses, and one of the best losses I can remember, just because what the club showed," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It was impressive watching them compete like that. I'm just talking about our team. They did the same thing."

Morgan Ensberg, who homered in the ninth, led off the bottom of the 13th with a single off Julian Tavarez (2-3) but was retired at second on a call disputed by manager Phil Garner. After Tavarez bobbled a bunt by pinch-hitter Raul Chavez, he still threw to second where umpire Angel Hernandez called Ensberg out, though a replay showed clearly that he was safe.

Jason Lane then singled and Jose Vizcaino was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Mark Mulder retired 20 of the last 21 batters he faced, but was denied his 16th victory after Isringhausen took over to start the ninth. Two pitches later, Ensberg hit a 1-0 pitch for his 35th homer to tie the game at 3-all.

"My biggest thing, he worked his butt off for eight innings, and I go out and give up the lead, not once, but twice," said Isringhausen, who has four blown saves. "It doesn't happen often. I'll turn the page and go out tomorrow. Tonight's over."

The Cardinals regained the lead in the 10th when Albert Pujols had a leadoff double off Dan Wheeler before consecutive bunts, the second a squeeze by Rodriguez. Pujols was charging home when Rodriguez placed the bunt between the mound and third base.

Isringhausen again couldn't hold the lead, allowing Ausmus' second homer of the season in the 10th.

After skipping his last start because of a stiff neck, Mulder struck out eight and walked two. He didn't allow a runner after Lance Berkman drew a two-out walk in the third.

Yadier Molina homered for the Cardinals (85-50), who still have the best record in the major leagues. His solo homer came in the second, and Edmonds' 23rd came after Pujols led off the sixth with a single to put St. Louis up 3-2.

Houston remained a half-game behind Philadelphia, which beat Washington, in the wild-card standings. The Astros are 12½ games behind the first-place Cardinals.

"It was just a much more important game for us than them," Ausmus said. "I don't think they are worried about making the playoffs. We're fighting for our lives."

Mulder was supposed to start last Saturday at Washington, but his neck tightened up in the clubhouse the previous night. His start was then pushed back to Sunday, but the Cardinals decided to skip his turn rather than risk further injury.

The only trouble Mulder had against Houston was in the second when he walked Berkman to start the inning and second baseman Mark Grudzielanek bobbled a potential double play grounder for an error. Chris Burke then singled to load the bases before Adam Everett's RBI grounder and Ausmus' run-scoring single.

Ezequiel Astacio struck out six over 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs and eight hits. The rookie right-hander has allowed a team-high 21 home runs.

Notes

  • St. Louis is 39-18 against the NL Central, winning 24 of the last 29 games against division foes. The Cardinals are 9-3 against Houston.
  • Ensberg's homer produced his 95th RBI, matching Sean Berry's team record by a third baseman.
  • Astros RHP Brandon Backe threw five shutout innings Friday night as he continued his injury rehabilitation in Double-A Corpus Christi. Backe, recovering from a strained left ribcage, threw 40 of his 62 pitches for strikes with seven strikeouts and no walks. He is expected to start in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
 
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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Houston's Brad Ausmus launches a game-tying solo home run in the 10th inning of the victory. (AP)
Houston's Brad Ausmus launches a game-tying solo home run in the 10th inning of the victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

M. Ensberg
AB 6
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Houston

B. Ausmus
AB 6
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS6010014 .282
Larry Walker, RF2000001 .273
    So Taguchi, RF4000000 .292
Albert Pujols, 1B6230000 .334
Jim Edmonds, CF5233012 .270
John Rodriguez, LF5021013 .299
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B6010032 .299
    Al Reyes, P0000000 .000
Abraham Nunez, 3B6010011 .292
Yadier Molina, C6121002 .255
Mark Mulder, P2000123 .148
   a- Hector Luna, PH1000000 .298
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
   b- John Mabry, PH1000000 .258
    Cal Eldred, P0000000 .000
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    Scott Seabol, 2B0000000 .209
Totals5051351918 
a-popped out for Mulder in the 9th
b-flied out for Isringhausen in the 11th
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (34, Wheeler), Jim Edmonds (33, Astacio), Mark Grudzielanek (28, Qualls)
HR - Jim Edmonds 2 (24, Astacio, Qualls), Yadier Molina (7, Astacio)
SH - Jim Edmonds (1), John Rodriguez (3)
RBI - Jim Edmonds 3 (75), John Rodriguez (19), Yadier Molina (41)
2-OUT RBI - Yadier Molina (15)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Mark Grudzielanek (7, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Mark Mulder 8221280 3.62
Jason Isringhausen (BS,4) 2222032 2.02
Cal Eldred 2100310 1.84
Julian Tavarez (H,29; L,2-3) 0.1222100 3.05
Ray King (BS,3)0000000 3.00
Al Reyes 0.1100000 2.56
IBB - Berkman by Cal Eldred, Vizcaino by Julian Tavarez
HBP - Palmeiro (by Ray King)
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Mulder 92-62, Jason Isringhausen 29-24, Cal Eldred 43-25, Julian Tavarez 16-8, Ray King 5-3, Al Reyes 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Mulder 13-4, Jason Isringhausen 3-0, Cal Eldred 2-3, Julian Tavarez 1-0
Batters Faced - Mark Mulder 29, Jason Isringhausen 8, Cal Eldred 10, Julian Tavarez 4, Ray King 1, Al Reyes 2
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5000022 .294
   a- Luke Scott, PH-CF0000100 .200
Craig Biggio, 2B6010012 .268
Morgan Ensberg, 3B6121011 .281
Lance Berkman, 1B-LF^1B2100310 .289
    Charles Gipson, PR0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   b- Raul Chavez, PH1100001 .184
Jason Lane, RF6210023 .258
Chris Burke, LF3010010 .246
   c- Mike Lamb, PH-1B1000000 .207
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
   d- Jose Vizcaino, PH-1B1000112 .260
Adam Everett, SS3001000 .249
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    Orlando Palmeiro, LF1001100 .307
Brad Ausmus, C6122004 .260
Ezequiel Astacio, P2000022 .167
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Eric Bruntlett, SS4011011 .193
Totals4768661218 
a-walked for Taveras in the 12th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Qualls in the 13th
c-grounded out for Burke in the 9th
d-struck out for Lidge in the 11th
Batting
2B - Craig Biggio (35, Eldred)
HR - Morgan Ensberg (35, Isringhausen), Brad Ausmus (2, Isringhausen)
RBI - Morgan Ensberg (95), Adam Everett (47), Orlando Palmeiro (18), Brad Ausmus 2 (39), Eric Bruntlett (12)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Bruntlett (7)
Team LOB - 10
Houston Astros
Ezequiel Astacio 5.1833162 5.96
Russ Springer 1.2200010 4.84
Dan Wheeler 2.1111020 1.79
Brad Lidge 1.2000000 2.25
Chad Qualls (W,4-4) 2211001 3.18
Pitches-Strikes - Ezequiel Astacio 97-69, Russ Springer 21-14, Dan Wheeler 24-20, Brad Lidge 20-14, Chad Qualls 31-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ezequiel Astacio 4-6, Russ Springer 2-2, Dan Wheeler 2-3, Brad Lidge 4-1, Chad Qualls 5-1
Batters Faced - Ezequiel Astacio 25, Russ Springer 7, Dan Wheeler 8, Brad Lidge 5, Chad Qualls 8
Game Information
Attendance - 38511
Game Time - 4:04
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Angel A. Hernandez, Third Base - Brian Runge