|St. Louis (73-54) «||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||x||1||3||0|
ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright became the National League's first 15-game winner. He also took the team lead, at least for a few days.
Wainwright worked eight innings of three-hit ball and Albert Pujols' rare hit off Wandy Rodriguez drove in the lone run in the St. Louis Cardinals' 1-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
"Golly, I've got to put my sprinting shoes on to stay ahead of him," Wainwright said. "That's good, I like the push. The whole rotation, we just keep going out there and feeding off each other."
Brendan Ryan sped home from first on Pujols' one-out double down the third-base line in the first inning for the NL Central leaders. The Cardinals (73-54) won with only three hits for the first time since July 6, 2005 at Arizona, and for the first time at home since Sept. 4, 2004, when they beat the Dodgers 5-1 on only two hits.
St. Louis is 14-3 since Aug. 7 and leads the division by a season-best nine games, while knocking the Astros a season-worst 11 games behind.
Wainwright retired 17 straight after Michael Bourn doubled to lead off the game, striking out five and walking none.
"When you're kind of rolling like that, you just let it happen," Wainwright said. "You don't think about what's going on, you just make a pitch."
Bourn was stranded at second when the next three Astros failed to get the ball out of the infield. The Cardinals totaled four outfield putouts during Wainwright's outing. The right-hander worked six or more innings for the 25th straight start, the most since Carpenter did it 28 straight times in 2005.
"Any count, every at-bat, he mixes the ball so well and he won't give in," Houston's Carlos Lee said. "Sometimes you get dominated and we got dominated today."
Before Tuesday, Pujols was 3 for 25 with no RBI against Rodriguez, and the .120 average was his worst against a left-hander with a minimum of 15 at-bats. Rodriguez' success against Pujols was, in turn, his best against any batter he had faced at least 20 times.
"I tried to get him to hit a ground ball because he's a power hitter," Rodriguez said. "I threw the ball down and he hit the ball well."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa noted that Rodriguez has only struck out Pujols once.
"The numbers are there, but Albert puts the ball in play," La Russa said. "It does help to realize Rodriguez has become an outstanding pitcher."
The Cardinals are 27-3 since July 3 in games started by their top three starters -- Wainwright, Carpenter and Joel Pineiro (12-9). They are 10-2 against left-handed starters since the Matt Holliday trade on July 24.
Rodriguez (12-8) allowed a run and three hits in seven innings, righting himself after the first by retiring 15 straight hitters before Ryan Ludwick's single with one out in the seventh. He has allowed one run or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts, going 6-2 with a 2.05 ERA in that span
In five August starts totaling 35 2/3 innings, Wainwright has walked one with 22 strikeouts. His biggest out came on his 114th pitch, a strikeout of pinch-hitter Jason Michaels with a man on third to end the eighth.
Michaels hit a grand slam off Wainwright last year when he was with the Pirates, tying it 4-4 in the eighth inning.
"That was the worst I'd ever felt after a game," Wainwright said. "To see him come up in that situation, it was 'All right, here we go, I've got to make a pitch, I'm not going to do that again."'
|Adam Wainwright doesn't give an inch, giving up three hits with five K's in eight innings. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
Cardinals 2011 World Series Champions Ticket Frame Jr. Shop Now!
|Michael Bourn, CF||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.292|
|Hunter Pence, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.279|
|Lance Berkman, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.278|
|Carlos Lee, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.309|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.307|
|Geoff Blum, 3B||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.259|
|Jeff Keppinger, PR-3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.268|
|Kazuo Matsui, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.237|
|Humberto Quintero, C||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.248|
|a- Darin Erstad, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.216|
|Chris Coste, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.230|
|Wandy Rodriguez, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.102|
|b- Jason Michaels, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.228|
|LaTroy Hawkins, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Quintero in the 8th|
|b-struck out for Rodriguez in the 8th|
|2B - Michael Bourn (24, Wainwright)|
|SH - Kazuo Matsui (11)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|Wandy Rodriguez (L,12-8)||7||3||1||1||1||6||0||2.82|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 93-64, LaTroy Hawkins 15-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 7-8, LaTroy Hawkins 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 25, LaTroy Hawkins 3|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Julio Lugo, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.287|
|a- Rick Ankiel, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.233|
|Ryan Franklin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brendan Ryan, SS||3||1||1||0||0||1||0||.297|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||3||0||1||1||0||0||0||.317|
|Matt Holliday, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.311|
|Ryan Ludwick, RF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.266|
|Mark DeRosa, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.257|
|Yadier Molina, C||2||0||0||0||1||1||1||.290|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.252|
|Adam Wainwright, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.155|
|b- Skip Schumaker, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.295|
|a-struck out for Lugo in the 8th|
|b-grounded out for Wainwright in the 8th|
|2B - Albert Pujols (31, Rodriguez)|
|RBI - Albert Pujols (107)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Adam Wainwright (W,15-7)||8||3||0||0||0||5||0||2.50|
|Ryan Franklin (S,33)||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||1.09|
|Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 114-75, Ryan Franklin 9-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 12-7, Ryan Franklin 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 27, Ryan Franklin 4|
|Attendance - 40512|
|Game Time - 2:10|
|Temperature - 77|
|Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Brian Knight|