St. Louis at Houston

St. Louis
W: N. Figueroa (4-2) L: J. Suppan (1-7)
S: B. Lyon (11)
HR: STL - M. Holliday (24)   HOU - H. Pence (21)

Astros 5, Cardinals 2 wire reports

HOUSTON -- Even their opponents are surprised by the St. Louis Cardinals' slide.

Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer and the Houston Astros completed a sweep of St. Louis with a 5-2 victory Wednesday, handing the slumping Cardinals their fifth straight defeat.

"Their backs are against the wall, not ours, and it didn't look like they wanted to come out and beat us," Blum said. "It's really surprising. For whatever reason, we got to them at their weakest point.

"I don't know if they were just laid back because they were coming in to play us."

The fading Cardinals, who have lost 13 of 16, began the day seven games behind first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Reds were scheduled to host Milwaukee later.

"I'm not all that excited on the reception we're going to get when we get home," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "I know we deserve to get it. But we'll tough it out. This is a tough group. We'll just show them we're a better ballclub than what we just played on this road trip. That's our assignment."

Nelson Figueroa (4-2) pitched out of two bases-loaded jams and lasted five innings for the win. Brandon Lyon worked a perfect ninth for his 11 save in 12 chances, sealing Houston's 14th victory in 20 games.

"It's been exciting," Figueroa said. "We play exciting baseball and we're always putting the pressure on the other team and it's only going to make us better going down the stretch and looking forward to next year."

Shut out 3-0 the previous two nights, St. Louis snapped an 18-inning scoreless streak on Matt Holliday's 24th homer in the first for a 2-0 lead.

Jeff Suppan (1-7) was activated from the disabled list before the game and allowed only one hit until the Astros rallied in the fifth.

Brett Wallace drew a leadoff walk and went to third on Jason Castro's double. Pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic hit a grounder to first baseman Albert Pujols, who threw out Wallace at the plate. Michael Bourn hit a sacrifice fly and Jeff Keppinger walked before Pence's go-ahead homer.

"It wasn't about pitch selection," Suppan said. "It was mostly about pitch location. If there's a leadoff walk, I need to throw strikes. We're just grinding. Today's over with, now we're getting ready for our next series."

Bourn singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He scored on Carlos Lee's sacrifice fly.

Figueroa escaped a jam in the third, when Suppan led off with a walk and Skip Schumaker singled. Aaron Miles and Pujols flied out and Figueroa hit Holliday with a pitch to load the bases before Jon Jay grounded into a force play.

St. Louis loaded the bases again in the fifth on singles by Miles and Jay and an intentional walk to Holliday with two outs. Ex-Astro Pedro Feliz flied out to end the threat.

Figueroa allowed two runs and six hits. Five relievers combined to hold the Cardinals to one hit over the final four innings.

"Just go up and do your part and when the pitching gives up two runs a game or less, you are going to win a lot," Pence said. "That's the bottom line. You've got to give them credit."

Schumaker doubled to start the game but was thrown out on the bases when Miles hit a comebacker to Figueroa. Pujols, hitless in his last 13 at-bats, fouled out before Holliday's homer.

The Cardinals have scored two runs in their last 36 innings. The consecutive shutouts the previous two nights marked the first time in 94 years that St. Louis had been blanked with three hits or fewer in back-to-back games.

Suppan made his first start since Aug. 1, when he pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies. He went five innings and allowed four runs, three hits and four walks.

"You've got to play nine innings," La Russa said. "You score first, you have a pretty good chance to win, but that's the last time we scored. We've had that formula a couple of times on this trip. It doesn't work. We stunk today and stunk the whole trip."


The Cardinals called up outfielder Nick Stavinoha and catcher Matt Pagnozzi from Triple-A Memphis. They also activated left-hander Dennys Reyes from the disabled list. Keppinger (toe injury) came off the disabled list before the game. ... Lee is among the major league leaders with 30 RBIs since July 28.

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

H. Pence
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1
St. Louis

M. Holliday
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1

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St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B5020011 .269
Aaron Miles, SS3110002 .327
    Brendan Ryan, PR-SS1000010 .218
Albert Pujols, 1B4000004 .313
Matt Holliday, LF2112100 .301
Jon Jay, RF4010013 .329
Pedro Feliz, 3B4000003 .228
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Colby Rasmus, CF3010110 .264
Yadier Molina, C4010002 .260
Jeff Suppan, P1000101 .235
   a- Nick Stavinoha, PH1000011 .260
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .500
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
    Felipe Lopez, 3B1000010 .238
a-struck out for Suppan in the 6th
2B - Skip Schumaker (15, Figueroa), Colby Rasmus (22, Figueroa)
HR - Matt Holliday (24, Figueroa)
RBI - Matt Holliday 2 (83)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Holliday 2 (39)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Matt Holliday 1
DP - Pujols-Ryan
PB - Yadier Molina (5)
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Suppan (L,1-7) 5344411 5.82
Kyle McClellan 1100100 2.20
Fernando Salas 1110100 1.74
Ryan Franklin 1100000 3.54
HBP - Wallace (by Jeff Suppan)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 74-39, Kyle McClellan 17-9, Fernando Salas 21-10, Ryan Franklin 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 5-8, Kyle McClellan 2-1, Fernando Salas 1-2, Ryan Franklin 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 22, Kyle McClellan 5, Fernando Salas 5, Ryan Franklin 3
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF2111100 .257
Jeff Keppinger, 2B3100103 .283
Hunter Pence, RF2123200 .288
Carlos Lee, LF3001001 .247
    Jason Bourgeois, LF0000000 .243
Geoff Blum, SS3000001 .261
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
   a- Anderson Hernandez, PH1000001 .232
    Fernando Abad, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
Chris Johnson, 3B4010011 .328
Brett Wallace, 1B1000201 .207
Jason Castro, C4120001 .208
Nelson Figueroa, P0000000 .222
   b- Brian Bogusevic, PH1100000 .000
    Gustavo Chacin, P00000001.000
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
   c- Jason Michaels, PH1000002 .252
    Tommy Manzella, SS0000000 .222
a-grounded out for Lindstrom in the 7th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Figueroa in the 5th
c-hit into fielder's choice for Melancon in the 6th
2B - Jason Castro (6, Suppan)
HR - Hunter Pence (21, Suppan)
SF - Michael Bourn (1), Carlos Lee (4)
SH - Nelson Figueroa (2)
RBI - Michael Bourn (31), Hunter Pence 3 (75), Carlos Lee (78)
2-OUT RBI - Hunter Pence 3 (31)
SB - Hunter Pence (17, 2nd base off Salas/Molina), Brian Bogusevic (1, 2nd base off Suppan/Molina)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Keppinger-Blum-Wallace
E - Brett Wallace (2, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Nelson Figueroa (W,4-2) 5622311 2.83
Gustavo Chacin (H,4) 0.1100000 5.03
Mark Melancon (H,3) 0.2000010 4.26
Matt Lindstrom (H,1) 1000010 4.06
Fernando Abad (H,1) 1000020 2.45
Brandon Lyon (S,11) 1000010 3.18
IBB - Holliday by Nelson Figueroa
HBP - Holliday (by Nelson Figueroa)
Pitches-Strikes - Nelson Figueroa 91-58, Gustavo Chacin 4-4, Mark Melancon 10-7, Matt Lindstrom 10-5, Fernando Abad 12-8, Brandon Lyon 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nelson Figueroa 4-9, Gustavo Chacin 1-0, Mark Melancon 1-0, Matt Lindstrom 1-1, Brandon Lyon 2-0
Batters Faced - Nelson Figueroa 24, Gustavo Chacin 2, Mark Melancon 2, Matt Lindstrom 3, Fernando Abad 3, Brandon Lyon 3
Game Information
Attendance - 22068
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - James Hoye