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St. Louis at Houston

Scoreboard
St. Louis (74-62)300000200590
Houston (70-66) «60002000x8140

Astros 8, Cardinals 5

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- A three-run deficit doesn't scare a team that's playing its best baseball of the season.

That's why the Houston Astros didn't panic when they got behind by three in the first inning.

Ty Wigginton and Hunter Pence hit home runs during a six-run first inning and the Houston Astros held on for an 8-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night.

"It was early in the game," Pence said of the three runs Brian Moehler gave up. "And you know Moehler's going to battle. He ended up pitching a great game for us. You know he's a gutsy guy and he's aggressive and going to give us a chance. We just had to get some runs for him."

Moehler (10-5) went six innings and allowed three runs and seven hits, striking out a season-high tying six. He improved to 4-0 in seven career starts against the Cardinals.

"Moehler did a little bit of bending," manager Cecil Cooper said. "He did a great job of keeping us close."

In the third inning, the Cardinals got a double play on what appeared to be a missed call by second base umpire Marvin Hudson. Pence was on second with one out when Humberto Quintero hit a liner to center field, where Skip Schumaker dove for the ball.

Schumaker jumped up as if he'd made the catch and threw to shortstop Cesar Izturis to double up Pence. As Cooper argued the call with Hudson, replays clearly showed the ball bounced into Schumaker's glove.

Cooper was ejected from the game. It was his fifth ejection of the season.

"I was sitting in my seat and saw it," Cooper said. "I'm an old man and I saw it with my natural eyes. He blew it and he refused to get help. That's the thing that upset me. He said he saw it as no catch.

"That took a run off the board for us and probably at least a double away from a kid who's scratching for hits."

Schumaker admitted the ball hit the ground.

"I didn't really know what the deal was," he said. "I knew it short-hopped me and I popped up like I caught it. I knew it was a short-hop. I also knew it was a tough one. It was up to the umpire and it was a tough call for him to make."

Manager Tony La Russa was more concerned with the rough start by Braden Looper.

Looper (12-11) went 4 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs and 11 hits and three walks to take the loss.

"He was just up," La Russa said. "That's not his game or anybody's game and he got it up and got nailed."

Looper had no excuses.

"Basically, the guys put three runs on the board for me and if I did my job we would have had a good chance to win the game," he said. "Unfortunately, I didn't.

"I just had to make an adjustment and get the ball down. I kept trying to pound the strike zone and get ahead, and I was just missing a lot and falling behind. When you do that, they're going to make you pay."

The Astros won their fourth straight and improved to 20-9 in the month of August, third best in the National league behind Chicago and Milwaukee.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect eighth and Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 42 tries. Valverde has saves in each of his last nine appearances.

St. Louis jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Ankiel's three-run homer in the first inning. It was his 25th of the season.

Wigginton, who leads the majors in August home runs with 11, hit his 20th of the year, a two-run shot in the first to narrow the Cardinals lead.

Geoff Blum's RBI double then tied it and Pence hit a three-run homer for a 6-3 lead.

David Newhan then doubled before Looper was able to record his first outs, a grounder by Quintero and a strikeout of Moehler.

Blum's two-run homer gave Houston an 8-3 lead in the fifth.

Albert Pujols went 4-for-4 with his 29th homer, a two-run shot in the seventh.

Notes

After getting a single in the first inning, Pujols' double in the third was his 1,500th career hit. ... Blum extended his career high with his 13th homer. His previous best was 11 in 2000. ... Molina's hit in the second gave him a 10-game hitting streak. ... The errorless game gave Houston 96 for the season, tying the 2002 team for third best in team history. The 2006 team had 102 errorless games and 2005 had 97. Houston's 58 errors are the fewest in the NL.

 
Copyright 2015 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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Players of the Game
Houston

G. Blum
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, CF3110011 .308
   a- Joe Mather, PH-CF2000012 .237
Ryan Ludwick, RF5000033 .304
Albert Pujols, 1B4242000 .362
Rick Ankiel, LF4113012 .270
Troy Glaus, 3B3000120 .270
Adam Kennedy, 2B4010002 .273
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C3010001 .311
    Jason LaRue, C1000010 .236
Braden Looper, P1000000 .269
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
   b- Josh Phelps, PH1000001 .500
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .111
    Aaron Miles, 2B1010000 .317
Cesar Izturis, SS2100101 .251
   c- Nick Stavinoha, PH1000010 .219
Totals35595210  
a-struck out for Schumaker in the 7th
b-grounded out for Springer in the 6th
c-struck out for Izturis in the 9th
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (36, Moehler), Adam Kennedy (13, Moehler)
HR - Albert Pujols (29, Brocail), Rick Ankiel (25, Moehler)
SH - Braden Looper (12)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (89), Rick Ankiel 3 (71)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (27)
SB - Aaron Miles (2, 2nd base off Valverde/Quintero), Cesar Izturis (17, 2nd base off Byrdak/Quintero)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Skip Schumaker 1
DP - Izturis-Pujols, Schumaker-Izturis, Glaus-Kennedy-Pujols, Kennedy-Izturis-Pujols, Miles-Izturis-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper (L,12-11) 4.11188313 4.27
Russ Springer 0.2000020 2.51
Brad Thompson 2100000 4.70
Ryan Franklin 1200000 3.52
HBP - Wigginton (by Brad Thompson)
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 83-48, Russ Springer 14-9, Brad Thompson 24-13, Ryan Franklin 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 5-3, Brad Thompson 4-1, Ryan Franklin 1-1
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 23, Russ Springer 2, Brad Thompson 7, Ryan Franklin 4
Houston Astros
Darin Erstad, CF-LF4120001 .295
Ty Wigginton, LF-3B3122001 .303
Miguel Tejada, SS4110001 .281
Lance Berkman, 1B2220200 .335
Geoff Blum, 3B-2B4223002 .245
Hunter Pence, RF4123010 .262
David Newhan, 2B3020110 .261
    Michael Bourn, CF0000000 .221
Humberto Quintero, C4010002 .232
Brian Moehler, P2000011 .026
   a- Reggie Abercrombie, PH1000000 .200
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .167
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   b- Mark Loretta, PH1000001 .266
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Totals32814833  
a-popped out for Moehler in the 6th
b-grounded into a double play for Hawkins in the 8th
Batting
2B - Miguel Tejada (30, Looper), Lance Berkman (42, Thompson), Geoff Blum (10, Looper), David Newhan (5, Looper)
3B - Lance Berkman (4, Looper)
HR - Ty Wigginton (20, Looper), Geoff Blum (13, Looper), Hunter Pence (20, Looper)
RBI - Ty Wigginton 2 (50), Geoff Blum 3 (44), Hunter Pence 3 (68)
PK - David Newhan (2, Looper)
Team LOB - 4
Houston Astros
Brian Moehler (W,10-5) 6733161 4.02
Tim Byrdak 0.1011110 3.81
Doug Brocail 0.2111011 4.37
LaTroy Hawkins (H,7) 1000010 4.59
Jose Valverde (S,36) 1100010 3.82
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 94-65, Tim Byrdak 14-7, Doug Brocail 10-7, LaTroy Hawkins 13-9, Jose Valverde 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 6-6, Doug Brocail 1-0, LaTroy Hawkins 1-1, Jose Valverde 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 26, Tim Byrdak 2, Doug Brocail 3, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Jose Valverde 4
Game Information
Attendance - 37569
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Randy Marsh