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Houston at St. Louis

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Houston (12-16)100100000291
St. Louis (11-16) «00003000x350

Grieving Cardinals halt five-game skid behind Pujols' double

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen won one for Josh Hancock, helping the team end a five-game losing streak.

Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead two-run double in the fifth inning, and three relievers allowed two hits in the final three innings after a strong start from Adam Wainwright in a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

"I think all of us wanted to go out and turn this season around a little bit," Wainwright said. "We wanted to win for Josh, too.

"I think he was looking down and he was proud of us."

It was the Cardinals' first home game since Hancock's fatal accident on Sunday. The team honored him with a video montage and put his initials and uniform number in a black circle against the bullpen wall not far from an identical remembrance of Darryl Kile, who died in 2002.

Before the game, about a dozen teammates gathered near the warning track in center field beneath the video board during the Hancock montage, and a sellout crowd observed a moment of silence.

The final score was Hancock's uniform number without the dash.

"We won the game 3-2. Thirty-two," Wainwright said. "That's kind of cool."

The Cardinals were outscored 36-7 during a five-game skid, including a sweep at Milwaukee earlier this week in which the defending World Series champions were outscored 23-3 and fell to last place in the NL Central.

"It's got to start somewhere," manager Tony La Russa said. "This is a start."

Wainwright (2-2) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings in his strongest outing since winning at Houston on April 6 in his first major league start. In his previous three starts, Wainwright was 0-2, allowing 17 earned runs and 27 hits in 15 2/3 innings.

Pujols' two-run double off Woody Williams (0-5) put the Cardinals ahead 3-2 in the fifth. Pujols is 18-for-44 (.409) with two homers and eight RBI during a 12-game hitting streak and his big hit came one pitch after he fouled off a curve.

"I could have maybe tried a different pitch, but I'm not going to second guess myself," Williams said. "I threw my best pitch, and you know, he's a pretty good hitter."

The Astros used two hits, a walk and Carlos Lee's sacrifice fly to take the lead in the first, and made it 2-0 in the fourth on Humberto Quintero's two-out run-scoring single, his first RBI.

The Cardinals took the lead in the fifth, ending a 19-inning scoreless streak. Chris Duncan's two-out RBI single cut the deficit to one and Pujols lined a curveball on a full count just inside the third-base line for a two-run double.

"He hung that breaking ball and I'm pretty sure he can tell you it was a mistake," Pujols said. "I was looking for it."

Ryan Franklin struck out three and allowed an infield hit in the seventh and Randy Flores allowed a hit and a walk while getting the first out in the eighth. Jason Isringhausen, the fourth St. Louis pitcher, got the last five outs for his seventh save.

It's the first save longer than an inning for Isringhausen, who underwent hip surgery last September, since July 7. Isringhausen has 256 career saves, tied with former Cardinals closer Todd Worrell for 24th place on the career list.

"This is what we get paid to do," Isringhausen said. "It's our job to cover the rest of the game and we were able to do it."

Williams moved up a day in the rotation to replace Chris Sampson, who was experiencing sinus problems. He allowed three runs and five hits in six innings and is 1-3 against his former team.

Notes

  • The Cardinals have been outscored 19-3 in the first inning and have scored first in only seven of their first 27 games.
  • Pujols is 4-for-7 with a homer against Williams.
  • Lee has 20 RBI in his last 20 games.
  • Craig Biggio singled twice for his team-leading eighth multihit game and has 2,959 hits.
  • The Cardinals improved to 4-9 at home.
  • Matt Albers, who had been scheduled to start on Sunday, has been moved up one day to work Saturday's game and Sampson will pitch on Sunday.
 
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' hit gives the Cards some consolation in their first home game since Josh Hancock's death.  (AP)
Albert Pujols' hit gives the Cards some consolation in their first home game since Josh Hancock's death. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 2
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
St. Louis

C. Duncan
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5020010 .264
Morgan Ensberg, 3B3110112 .250
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Lance Berkman, 1B2010211 .266
Carlos Lee, LF3011002 .282
Luke Scott, RF4120012 .222
Hunter Pence, CF4010004 .261
Adam Everett, SS3000001 .202
   a- Mark Loretta, PH-SS1000002 .348
Humberto Quintero, C3011010 .250
   b- Chris Burke, PH1000010 .224
Woody Williams, P2000001 .067
   c- Mike Lamb, PH-3B2000010 .355
Totals3329237  
a-flied out for Everett in the 8th
b-struck out for Quintero in the 9th
c-struck out for Williams in the 7th
Batting
2B - Morgan Ensberg (5, Wainwright), Luke Scott (6, Wainwright), Hunter Pence (1, Wainwright)
SF - Carlos Lee (5)
RBI - Carlos Lee (25), Humberto Quintero (1)
2-OUT RBI - Humberto Quintero (1)
CS - Hunter Pence (1, 3rd base by Wainwright/Molina)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Luke Scott 1
E - Morgan Ensberg (5, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Woody Williams (L,0-5) 6533200 5.49
Brad Lidge 2000100 4.85
Pitches-Strikes - Woody Williams 102-65, Brad Lidge 21-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Woody Williams 9-9, Brad Lidge 4-2
Batters Faced - Woody Williams 25, Brad Lidge 7
St. Louis Cardinals
Preston Wilson, RF3110100 .222
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Chris Duncan, LF4121001 .323
    Jim Edmonds, CF0000000 .211
Albert Pujols, 1B2012201 .284
Scott Rolen, 3B4000004 .221
So Taguchi, CF-LF4000003 .263
Adam Kennedy, 2B3000000 .211
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
    Skip Schumaker, RF0000000 .244
Yadier Molina, C3010000 .254
David Eckstein, SS3100001 .213
Adam Wainwright, P1000000 .300
    Aaron Miles, 2B1000000 .250
Totals2835330  
Batting
2B - Chris Duncan (6, Williams), Albert Pujols (5, Williams)
SH - Adam Wainwright (2)
RBI - Chris Duncan (11), Albert Pujols 2 (17)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Duncan (5), Albert Pujols 2 (4)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Eckstein-Kennedy-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright (W,2-2) 6722210 5.60
Ryan Franklin (H,5) 1100030 1.38
Randy Flores (H,3) 0.1100110 2.79
Jason Isringhausen (S,7) 1.2000020 2.38
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 83-51, Ryan Franklin 21-14, Randy Flores 12-6, Jason Isringhausen 19-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 8-7, Jason Isringhausen 2-1
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 25, Ryan Franklin 4, Randy Flores 3, Jason Isringhausen 5
Game Information
Attendance - 44117
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Joe West