St. Louis at Houston

St. Louis
W: B. Hawksworth (3-5) L: W. Rodriguez (6-11)
S: R. Franklin (16)
HR: STL - M. Holliday (16)   HOU - None

Cardinals 4, Astros 2 wire reports

HOUSTON -- After a sweep in Colorado, the St. Louis Cardinals were looking for a positive finish to the first half of the season.

They found it in Houston, where Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer in a 4-2 win over the Astros on Sunday that gave them a series win over their NL Central rival.

The Cardinals trailed 2-0 before Holliday's shot to left field in the fourth inning. It was his 16th home run of the season.

"We were playing for our lives," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of his team, which ended the first half in second place behind Cincinnati. "That describes what we did. We're alive and kicking. Houston has played us pretty tough. They have a winning record against us. To win the series, it's a really good win."

Blake Hawksworth (3-5) yielded seven hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings to get the win in his fifth major league start. Closer Ryan Franklin pitched a scoreless ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

"Location wasn't its best," Hawksworth said. "First two innings were tough on the pitch count, too. Glad we got the win going into the break. That's the most important thing, but I have to get better."

Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez's winning streak was snapped at three after he allowed four hits and three runs with six strikeouts.

"That one pitch was a good pitch inside and he hit the ball for a home run," Rodriguez said of Holliday's shot. "It wasn't a mistake."

Colby Rasmus, who didn't start for the second consecutive game because of a tight right hamstring, drove in a run with a two-out, pinch-hit single in the eighth inning that made it 4-2. He was replaced by a pinch runner after the hit.

The Astros' Michael Bourn walked in the first inning before a single by Jeff Keppinger, and Bourn scored on a single by Carlos Lee with one out. Keppinger scored on a single by Hunter Pence to make it 2-0.

Rodriguez (6-11) retired the first 10 batters he faced before rookie Jon Jay extended his hitting streak to 11 games on a single with one out in the fourth inning. A single by Albert Pujols set up Holliday's fifth home run in the last six games and gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead.

"This win was well-deserved, and we needed it," La Russa said. "We had a big swing from Matt. At that point, before that thing started, we weren't doing anything against Rodriguez."

Yadier Molina doubled with two outs before Houston intentionally walked Tyler Greene, but Rodriguez limited the damage when Hawksworth grounded out.

The Astros had 10 hits, but couldn't put anything together after the first inning on a day when they learned hitting coach Sean Berry had been let go to make room for former star Jeff Bagwell to take the position. Bagwell wasn't in uniform Sunday and begins work on Thursday in Pittsburgh before the start of Friday's series with the Pirates.

A pair of singles in the seventh inning put Keppinger in scoring position, but Kyle McClellan retired Pedro Feliz to end the inning. McClellan struck out one in 1 2/3 innings.


La Russa said after the game that there is "no doubt" Rasmus will return to the starting lineup after the All-Star break. ... The Cardinals hoped OF Ryan Ludwick could come off the DL after the break, but La Russa said Sunday that he isn't sure if that will happen. Ludwick has been out with a left calf strain since June 26. ... Houston RHP Brian Moehler, who left Wednesday's game with a strained right groin, should be available after the break.

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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Players of the Game
St. Louis

M. Holliday
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

J. Keppinger
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0

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Jon Jay, CF4110010 .377
Albert Pujols, 1B2110200 .308
Matt Holliday, LF4113023 .300
Nick Stavinoha, RF3000001 .256
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .500
   a- Colby Rasmus, PH1011000 .284
    Jaime Garcia, PR0000000 .200
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C4010002 .223
Tyler Greene, SS-2B3020110 .269
    Aaron Miles, 2B0000000 .314
Blake Hawksworth, P2000012 .000
    Randy Winn, RF1000001 .222
Skip Schumaker, 2B2000010 .255
   b- Brendan Ryan, PH-SS2000002 .194
a-singled for McClellan in the 8th
b-fouled out for Schumaker in the 7th
2B - Yadier Molina (10, Rodriguez)
HR - Matt Holliday (16, Rodriguez)
SH - Randy Winn (2)
RBI - Matt Holliday 3 (51), Colby Rasmus (42)
2-OUT RBI - Colby Rasmus (14)
Team LOB - 6
St. Louis Cardinals
Blake Hawksworth (W,3-5) 5.1722320 4.73
Kyle McClellan (H,12) 1.2200010 2.13
Jason Motte (H,7) 1000100 2.27
Ryan Franklin (S,16) 1100010 3.63
Pitches-Strikes - Blake Hawksworth 95-62, Kyle McClellan 31-20, Jason Motte 15-9, Ryan Franklin 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Blake Hawksworth 9-5, Kyle McClellan 2-2, Jason Motte 1-2, Ryan Franklin 2-0
Batters Faced - Blake Hawksworth 26, Kyle McClellan 7, Jason Motte 4, Ryan Franklin 4
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4100114 .255
Jeff Keppinger, 2B5130001 .284
Lance Berkman, 1B5020022 .255
Carlos Lee, LF5021004 .240
Hunter Pence, RF5021002 .263
Pedro Feliz, 3B4000017 .220
Jason Castro, C3000102 .170
Angel Sanchez, SS2010100 .200
Wandy Rodriguez, P0000100 .250
   a- Jason Michaels, PH1000001 .242
    Wilton Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
   b- Chris Johnson, PH1000000 .282
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Rodriguez in the 6th
b-grounded out for Lyon in the 8th
SH - Angel Sanchez (1), Wandy Rodriguez (4)
RBI - Carlos Lee (45), Hunter Pence (40)
SB - Hunter Pence (11, 2nd base off McClellan/Molina)
Team LOB - 12
DP - Rodriguez-Sanchez-Berkman
Houston Astros
Wandy Rodriguez (L,6-11) 6433261 4.97
Wilton Lopez 0.1100000 4.05
Tim Byrdak 0.2000000 4.50
Brandon Lyon 1211110 3.66
Chris Sampson 1100000 5.47
IBB - T. Greene by Wandy Rodriguez, Pujols by Brandon Lyon
WP - Brandon Lyon (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 95-64, Wilton Lopez 11-7, Tim Byrdak 4-3, Brandon Lyon 16-10, Chris Sampson 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 7-4, Wilton Lopez 1-0, Tim Byrdak 1-1, Brandon Lyon 2-0, Chris Sampson 1-2
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 23, Wilton Lopez 2, Tim Byrdak 2, Brandon Lyon 6, Chris Sampson 4
Game Information
Attendance - 32975
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Tim McClelland