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Houston at St. Louis

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St. Louis «002110002671

Pujols hits game-winning double in ninth as Cards pad lead

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols broke his bat on a 1-2 fastball in on the hands from Brad Lidge. All that meant was that the winning hit, which handed the Houston Astros an agonizing loss, lacked a certain solid tone.

Even without good wood Pujols got the best of Lidge again Tuesday night, this time hitting a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning that gave the St. Louis Cardinals a 6-5 victory.

"Everything went our way," Pujols said. "It's good that we're catching those breaks. I wasn't trying to do too much, just put the ball in play."

Preston Wilson homered for the Cardinals, who have won the first two games of a three-game series against the third-place Astros, knocking them seven games back in the NL Central. St. Louis has a five-game lead over the Reds.

"Too much baseball left," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It means we won the series."

Houston began the day 4½ games behind wild-card leader San Diego.

The Cardinals got to Lidge, who blew his sixth save in 37 chances, for the third time this season. Lidge (1-5) had a blown save and a loss against St. Louis in the last two games before the All-Star break.

Lidge is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA and four saves against the Cardinals this season, allowing seven runs in seven innings spanning six games.

"It seems like stuff like that has happened this year," Lidge said. "I was able to get in there and broke his bat, but he was able to put it in a place we couldn't get it."

Chris Burke's two-run homer in the sixth put the Astros ahead 5-4, and Mike Lamb also homered for Houston in a game that featured five lead changes. The Astros used seven pitchers -- starter Andy Pettitte left in the third inning with an elbow injury.

Pinch-hitter John Rodriguez singled off Lidge to start the ninth and advanced on pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino's sacrifice. Wilson struck out and Scott Spiezio was hit by a pitch before Pujols doubled down the left-field line to score both runners without a play.

The ball got away from left fielder Jason Lane in the corner.

Last October, with the Astros only one out from their first trip to the World Series, Pujols hit a mammoth homer off Lidge to stave off elimination for the Cardinals and send the NL Championship Series back to St. Louis. Houston recovered and clinched the pennant in Game 6.

Pujols could not explain his success against Lidge.

"He's one of the best guys in the league and he's got good stuff," Pujols said. "I'd take him on my team anytime."

Braden Looper (9-1) gave up one hit and one intentional walk with two strikeouts in two innings.

Lamb's first-inning homer ended a 20-inning scoreless slump for Houston.

Pettitte lasted 2 2/3 innings and allowed a two-run homer to Wilson, released by the Astros last month, before leaving with a flexor muscle strain. He had been pushed back a day due to a minor ankle sprain and fatigue.

Burke started in place of slumping Craig Biggio, who is 0-for-20 and will be rested again on Wednesday by manager Phil Garner. Burke's ninth homer, off Jeff Weaver, reached the third of four decks above the left-field wall and came after Luke Scott walked to start the sixth.

Weaver gave up five runs and five hits in five-plus innings with three strikeouts and three walks. He has given up 14 homers in 12 starts with the Cardinals, and 32 in 28 starts overall.

Wilson, let go by the Astros because of a lack of power, hit his sixth homer in 21 games and 15th overall to put the Cardinals ahead 2-1 in the third. Pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro's two-run single in the fourth put the Astros back on top before Yadier Molina's RBI single in the fourth and Juan Encarnacion's run-scoring single in the fifth gave St. Louis a 4-3 lead.

Notes

  • Wilson is 4-for-11 with two homers against Pettitte.
  • Before the game, a ceremony was held for Cardinals Care, the team's charitable arm, which passed the $10 million mark in funds donated to the community since 1997.
  • Houston slugger Lance Berkman is 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in the first two games of the series and hasn't gotten the ball out of the infield, although he was intentionally walked with a runner on second and two outs in the ninth.
  • Scott Rolen was ejected for arguing a called third strike in the fifth.
  • Lamb also doubled in the third and is 13-for-31 with two homers and four RBI against St. Louis pitching.
 
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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Albert Pujols is greeted at home plate after hitting a game-winning double for the Cardinals.  (AP)
Albert Pujols is greeted at home plate after hitting a game-winning double for the Cardinals. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

P. Wilson
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Houston

C. Burke
AB 2
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5020001
Mike Lamb, 3B-1B5121012
Lance Berkman, 1B-RF4000132
Aubrey Huff, RF5000004
    Brad Lidge, P0000000
Luke Scott, LF2220100
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000
    Morgan Ensberg, 3B0000000
Chris Burke, 2B2212111
Eric Bruntlett, SS4010012
Brad Ausmus, C3000114
Andy Pettitte, P1000002
    Chris Sampson, P0000000
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1012000
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000
   b- Charlton Jimerson, PH1000010
    Russ Springer, P0000000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000
    Jason Lane, LF1000010
Totals345954918 
a-singled for Sampson in the 4th
b-struck out for Borkowski in the 6th
Batting
2B - Willy Taveras (, Looper), Mike Lamb (, Weaver), Luke Scott (, Weaver)
HR - Mike Lamb (, Weaver), Chris Burke (, Weaver)
SH - Chris Burke ()
RBI - Mike Lamb (), Chris Burke 2 (), Orlando Palmeiro 2 ()
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Eric Bruntlett (, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Andy Pettitte 2.2122121
Chris Sampson 0.1000000
Dave Borkowski 2422210
Russ Springer (H,) 1000010
Chad Qualls (H,) 1000110
Dan Wheeler (H,) 1000010
Brad Lidge (BS,; L,-) 0.2222010
IBB - Miles by Dave Borkowski, by Pujols
HBP - Spiezio (by Brad Lidge)
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 34-22, Chris Sampson 4-3, Dave Borkowski 32-18, Russ Springer 13-9, Chad Qualls 16-10, Dan Wheeler 13-8, Brad Lidge 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 5-2, Chris Sampson 1-0, Dave Borkowski 2-3, Dan Wheeler 1-1, Brad Lidge 1-0
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 11, Chris Sampson 1, Dave Borkowski 12, Russ Springer 3, Chad Qualls 4, Dan Wheeler 3, Brad Lidge 5
St. Louis Cardinals
Preston Wilson, RF5112011
Scott Spiezio, LF-3B4210000
Albert Pujols, 1B3012211
Scott Rolen, 3B3000012
    Chris Duncan, LF1000011
Juan Encarnacion, CF4121010
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4000003
Aaron Miles, SS2100200
Yadier Molina, C3011000
   a- John Rodriguez, PH1010000
    Skip Schumaker, PR0100000
Jeff Weaver, P2000013
    Josh Hancock, P0000000
   b- Mike Rose, PH1000010
    Tyler Johnson, P0000000
    Braden Looper, P0000000
   c- Jose Vizcaino, PH0000000
Totals336764711 
a-singled for Molina in the 9th
b-struck out for Hancock in the 6th
c-hit a sacrifice bunt for Looper in the 9th
Batting
2B - Scott Spiezio (, Borkowski), Albert Pujols (, Lidge)
3B - Juan Encarnacion (, Borkowski)
HR - Preston Wilson (, Pettitte)
SH - Jose Vizcaino ()
RBI - Preston Wilson 2 (), Albert Pujols 2 (), Juan Encarnacion (), Yadier Molina ()
2-OUT RBI - Preston Wilson 2 (), Albert Pujols 2 (), Juan Encarnacion (), Yadier Molina ()
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Miles-Belliard-Pujols
E - Tyler Johnson (, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Weaver 5755332
Josh Hancock 1000030
Tyler Johnson 1100010
Braden Looper (W,-) 2100120
IBB - Berkman by Braden Looper
HBP - Scott (by Tyler Johnson)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Weaver 104-58, Josh Hancock 13-9, Tyler Johnson 10-7, Braden Looper 26-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Weaver 5-6, Tyler Johnson 1-1, Braden Looper 2-2
Batters Faced - Jeff Weaver 24, Josh Hancock 3, Tyler Johnson 5, Braden Looper 8
Game Information
Attendance - 41453
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Rick Reed