St. Louis at Houston

St. Louis
W: A. Pettitte (2-4) L: C. Carpenter (3-2)
S: B. Lidge (11)
HR: STL - None   HOU - L. Berkman (11)

Pettitte snaps skid as 'Stros stop Cardinals

CBS wire reports

HOUSTON -- Raising the ire of Brad Ausmus might have been just what Andy Pettitte needed to get back on track.

Pettitte (2-4), who had lost three straight decisions, led the Houston Astros to a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night after some stern words from his catcher early in the game.

Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer off Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter and Willy Taveras had a go-ahead RBI single in the victory.

Pettitte got into trouble in the second when he allowed two singles and then hit Yadier Molina with a pitch to load the bases. So Taguchi followed with a two-run double on a line drive to left field, bringing Ausmus to the mound.

"Brad Ausmus came out and chewed me out pretty good," Pettitte said. "And after that I slowed down. He usually doesn't gripe very much. But he came out and griped at me a little. He kicked me in the rear."

Ausmus said, "When Taguchi got his hit on the cutter we were trying to bury it. So I wasn't happy and he had missed a couple of spots."

The talk worked and after allowing five hits in the first three innings, Pettitte went three hitless innings. In the sixth he walked Scott Rolen with one out before Jim Edmonds grounded into double play to end the inning.

The Astros are 19-9 through 28 games, the best start in franchise history, while the Cardinals have lost four straight, their longest losing streak since 2004.

Pettitte seemed relieved to get the win.

"I'm just battling myself a little," he said. "I'm just rushing in certain situations. I know what I'm doing. I've just got to keep my emotions in check."

Carpenter (3-2) was 4-0 in five starts against Houston last year, with two complete games and one shutout. On Thursday, the right-hander gave up six hits and four runs and struck out four in six innings.

"I pitched pretty well, but obviously the ball to Berkman was a mistake," Carpenter said. "We're just coming up one run short. Right now it seems we're playing just good enough to lose."

And the Astros are becoming masters of close games, 10-1 in games decided by one run.

Houston closer Brad Lidge put two men on in the ninth, but worked out of the jam by getting pinch-hitter Gary Bennett to ground into a force out. Lidge has 11 saves in 13 opportunities.

"It seems like in this series you just know that by the end of the game it will be a one run game," Lidge said. "It's kind of the way we play them. We're real evenly matched."

Albert Pujols, who leads the majors with 15 home runs, went 0-for-4.

"Right now the offense isn't cranking, so if we make a couple of mistakes pitching we can't overcome it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We need more consistent at-bats."

Berkman's opposite field homer to left in the fourth scored Taveras and tied the game at 2. It was the 11th home run of the year for Berkman, who leads the league in RBI (36).

"Anytime facing a guy like Chris -- such a dominating pitcher -- you want to try to get to him," Berkman said. "A lot of the time you've got to break the ice. Someone has to step up and hit the ball hard. That gave us a fresh start."

Taveras gave Houston its first lead of the night when his single scored Adam Everett in the fifth inning.

In the sixth, Morgan Ensberg got on with a double and scored when Jason Lane's high popup dropped right in the middle of Hector Luna, Pujols and Juan Encarnacion for a single. Lane's hit broke a 0-for-13 hitting slump.

The Astros lead was cut to 4-3 in the seventh when David Eckstein chased Pettitte with an RBI single to center field that was bobbled by Taveras.

Rolen returned to the lineup Thursday after missing nine games with a viral infection and had two hits, including a double.


  • Pujols set the major league record for fewest team games needed to reach 15 home runs, doing it in the Cardinals' 28th game on Wednesday night, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • Berkman has hit safely in 11 of the last 12 games and has at least on RBI in nine straight outings.
  • Houston's 14 home wins this season are the most in the majors.
Copyright 2017 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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Lance Berkman earns kudos after delivering a two-run home run against the Cardinals.  (AP)
Lance Berkman earns kudos after delivering a two-run home run against the Cardinals. (AP)

Players of the Game

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
St. Louis

S. Taguchi
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0

Related Video

St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS5011004 .304
Hector Luna, 2B4000001 .333
    Adam Wainwright, P0000000 .000
   a- Gary Bennett, PH1000002 .190
Albert Pujols, 1B4000000 .315
Juan Encarnacion, RF4020000 .229
Scott Rolen, 3B3120101 .328
Jim Edmonds, CF4110014 .205
Yadier Molina, C2010000 .161
   b- John Rodriguez, PH1010000 .432
So Taguchi, LF3112011 .261
   c- Aaron Miles, PH1000011 .283
Chris Carpenter, P2000002 .067
   d- Scott Spiezio, PH-2B1000101 .265
a-hit into fielder's choice for Wainwright in the 9th
b-singled for Molina in the 9th
c-struck out for Taguchi in the 9th
d-grounded out for Carpenter in the 7th
2B - Scott Rolen (6, Pettitte), So Taguchi (5, Pettitte)
RBI - David Eckstein (7), So Taguchi 2 (8)
2-OUT RBI - David Eckstein (4)
SB - So Taguchi (3, 2nd base off Pettitte/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Luna-Eckstein-Pujols, Eckstein-Luna-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (L,3-2) 6644241 2.35
Adam Wainwright 2000030 0.66
HBP - Taveras (by Chris Carpenter)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 102-62, Adam Wainwright 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 9-3, Adam Wainwright 2-1
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 25, Adam Wainwright 6
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B4010022 .303
    Eric Bruntlett, 2B0000000 .300
Willy Taveras, CF2111100 .296
Lance Berkman, 1B4112013 .349
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4110021 .309
Preston Wilson, LF3000011 .224
Jason Lane, RF3011010 .208
Brad Ausmus, C3000001 .347
Adam Everett, SS3110000 .250
Andy Pettitte, P1000100 .091
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000000 .059
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Qualls in the 7th
2B - Morgan Ensberg (9, Carpenter), Adam Everett (6, Carpenter)
HR - Lance Berkman (11, Carpenter)
RBI - Willy Taveras (8), Lance Berkman 2 (36), Jason Lane (13)
2-OUT RBI - Willy Taveras (6)
Team LOB - 3
DP - Biggio-Everett-Berkman
Houston Astros
Andy Pettitte (W,2-4) 6.2733110 5.06
Chad Qualls (H,4) 0.1000000 6.14
Dan Wheeler (H,6) 1100010 3.21
Brad Lidge (S,11) 1100110 5.74
HBP - Molina (by Andy Pettitte)
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 121-77, Chad Qualls 3-2, Dan Wheeler 14-10, Brad Lidge 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 12-6, Chad Qualls 1-0, Dan Wheeler 1-1, Brad Lidge 1-1
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 28, Chad Qualls 1, Dan Wheeler 4, Brad Lidge 5
Game Information
Attendance - 37290
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - James Hoye, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Chad Fairchild