St. Louis at Houston

Scoreboard
St. Louis (89-72) «00050043113170
Houston (56-105)0140100006112

Cardinals tie wild-card race with win over Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

HOUSTON -- After St. Louis was swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in late August, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa thought his team would fall short of the postseason once again.

Less than a month later, the Cardinals are tied with Atlanta for the NL wild-card lead.

Pinch-hitter Ryan Theriot delivered a tiebreaking two-run triple in the seventh inning, leading St. Louis to a 13-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

The sliding Braves lost 7-1 to Philadelphia, sending the race for the NL's final playoff spot to the last day of the regular season. If the teams are tied after Wednesday's game, St. Louis will host a one-game playoff on Thursday night.

"Yeah, when we got swept by the Dodgers," La Russa said when asked if he doubted his team could make such a run. "When I saw our schedule I said: 'We could finish under .500 if we don't start getting it back together.' And we did."

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St. Louis has won 21 of 29 games since that sweep, moving to the brink of what not so long ago seemed like an improbable goal.

"It's kind of fed us here the last few days, 120 years of baseball and this is one of those historic runs to tie," La Russa said. "But there's a different story between tying and finishing it off. So tomorrow we'll see if we can go take another step."

The Cardinals trailed 5-0 early and appeared to be headed for a second straight loss to the Astros. But St. Louis scored five times in the fourth and erased a 6-5 deficit with a four-run seventh.

Lance Berkman hit a two-out single and scored on Allen Craig's tying double. Craig entered in the third inning when Matt Holliday departed with discomfort in his right hand.

Yadier Molina walked before Theriot hit his clutch triple to make it 8-6.

Nick Punto, who had four hits, doubled in Theriot in the seventh and had a solo homer in the ninth. Craig padded the lead with a three-run homer to the Crawford Boxes in left field in the eighth.

"You play all year for an opportunity to play in October," Theriot said. "So it's a good feeling to know that we put ourselves in a spot that we could possibly do that, to do what we've done this last month and keep playing."

Eduardo Sanchez (3-1) struck out two in 1 1/3 innings for the win in a game that included seven Cardinals relievers following an early exit by Jake Westbrook. It was Sanchez's first appearance since June 12 because of a shoulder injury.

Skip Schumaker drove in three runs in the fourth, and Berkman had three hits and scored three times. The crowd booed loudly when Berkman, the longtime Astros star, scored in the seventh.

The Astros jumped on Westbrook for seven hits and five runs in 2 1/3 innings to take the early lead.

Enerio Del Rosario (0-3) yielded two hits and three runs for the loss.

Brian Bogusevic singled to start the Astros' fifth before consecutive walks loaded the bases. Bogusevic scored when Jimmy Paredes grounded into a double play, giving Houston a 6-5 lead.

David Freese walked to start the big fourth inning by St. Louis. Berkman singled with one out, and the runners advanced on a wild pitch by Henry Sosa.

Craig then walked before Molina singled in a run and Schumaker cleared the bases with a double to center, chasing Sosa. David Carpenter came in and allowed Jon Jay's tying sacrifice fly later in the inning.

The Astros scored four times in the third. Brett Wallace had a two-run single and Paredes added a two-run triple that rolled up on the corner of Tal's Hill in center field.

Bogusevic was disappointed that Houston let its early advantage slip away.

"It's not over in the third or fourth inning, and we knew there was still a lot of baseball yet to be played," he said. "We tried to add on and hold them off, but it didn't work today."

Cardinals star Albert Pujols got hit on the right elbow by a ball that glanced off his bat for a foul in the seventh. He writhed in pain for a minute before trainers came and checked on him. He continued his at-bat after a short delay, flew out to left field and played the rest of the game.

Notes

  • Holliday returned to the Cardinals on Saturday after missing nine games with a tendon injury on his right middle finger. La Russa said he wouldn't start on Wednesday.
  • Cardinals SS Rafael Furcal, who left Monday's game in the fifth inning with tightness in his left hamstring, was held out. La Russa said Furcal would not return for Wednesday's game, but he wasn't sure about his availability if the Cardinals play past that game.
  • Houston closer Mark Melancon and his wife Mary Catherine had a girl named Brooklyn Marie on Tuesday.
  • Chris Carpenter pitches for the Cardinals against Brett Myers in the regular-season finale on Wednesday. Myers has won four straight games and has a 1.24 ERA in his last five starts. Carpenter is 7-5 in his career against the Astros, but hasn't won in Houston since 2005.
 
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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Ryan Theriot pivots toward a crucial two-run triple in the seventh which helps spark the Cardinals' victory.  (Getty Images)
Ryan Theriot pivots toward a crucial two-run triple in the seventh which helps spark the Cardinals' victory. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Houston

J. Paredes
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
St. Louis

A. Craig
AB 3
R 3
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jon Jay, CF4011002 .297
David Freese, 3B4110112 .295
    Octavio Dotel, P0000000 .000
   a- Tony Cruz, PH-1B1010000 .262
Albert Pujols, 1B6110014 .300
    Edwin Jackson, P0000000 .267
Lance Berkman, RF4330100 .302
    Shane Robinson, RF0000000 .000
Matt Holliday, LF1000000 .296
    Allen Craig, LF3324111 .313
Yadier Molina, C4211101 .306
Skip Schumaker, 2B3113000 .284
   b- Ryan Theriot, PH-2B2112000 .272
Nick Punto, SS5142010 .277
Jake Westbrook, P0000000 .106
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
   c- Corey Patterson, PH0000100 .239
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
   d- Adron Chambers, PH1010000 .375
    Eduardo Sanchez, P1000001 .000
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
    Daniel Descalso, 3B1000000 .262
Totals4013171354  
a-singled for Dotel in the 9th
b-tripled for Schumaker in the 7th
c-walked for Boggs in the 4th
d-singled for Rzepczynski in the 6th
Batting
2B - Lance Berkman (23, Carpenter), Allen Craig (15, Del Rosario), Skip Schumaker (19, Sosa), Nick Punto (8, Wright)
3B - Ryan Theriot (1, Wright)
HR - Allen Craig (10, F. Rodriguez), Nick Punto (1, Abreu)
SF - Jon Jay (4)
SH - Jake Westbrook (10)
RBI - Jon Jay (37), Allen Craig 4 (39), Yadier Molina (65), Skip Schumaker 3 (36), Ryan Theriot 2 (47), Nick Punto 2 (19)
2-OUT RBI - Allen Craig 4 (16), Ryan Theriot 2 (28), Nick Punto (8)
SB - David Freese (1, 3rd base off Sosa/Towles)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Punto-Schumaker-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Westbrook 2.1755120 4.66
Mitchell Boggs 0.2000010 3.56
Marc Rzepczynski 2211220 3.34
Eduardo Sanchez (W,3-1) 1.1000020 1.80
Arthur Rhodes0000100 4.64
Fernando Salas (H,6) 0.2000010 2.28
Octavio Dotel 1000010 3.50
Edwin Jackson 1200000 3.79
IBB - Lee by Jake Westbrook
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 45-29, Mitchell Boggs 8-6, Marc Rzepczynski 31-17, Eduardo Sanchez 12-10, Arthur Rhodes 6-2, Fernando Salas 16-11, Octavio Dotel 9-7, Edwin Jackson 20-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 1-4, Mitchell Boggs 1-0, Marc Rzepczynski 2-0, Eduardo Sanchez 2-0, Octavio Dotel 1-1, Edwin Jackson 1-2
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 15, Mitchell Boggs 2, Marc Rzepczynski 8, Eduardo Sanchez 4, Arthur Rhodes 1, Fernando Salas 2, Octavio Dotel 3, Edwin Jackson 5
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
J.B. Shuck, CF5000011 .273
Jose Altuve, 2B5130000 .275
Brian Bogusevic, RF4220102 .292
Carlos Lee, LF3210203 .277
Brett Wallace, 1B3112122 .260
Jimmy Paredes, 3B4022010 .291
Clint Barmes, SS4010022 .246
J.R. Towles, C1001001 .184
    David Carpenter, P0000000 .000
   a- Chris Johnson, PH1000010 .252
    Enerio Del Rosario, P0000000 .000
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
   b- Carlos Corporan, PH-C1000000 .190
Henry Sosa, P1000012 .067
    Humberto Quintero, C2000010 .242
    Juan Abreu, P0000000 .000
   c- Angel Sanchez, PH1010000 .240
Totals35611549  
a-struck out for Carpenter in the 6th
b-flied out for F. Rodriguez in the 8th
c-singled for Abreu in the 9th
Batting
2B - Brian Bogusevic (14, Westbrook)
3B - Jimmy Paredes (2, Westbrook)
SF - J.R. Towles (2)
RBI - Brett Wallace 2 (29), Jimmy Paredes 2 (18), J.R. Towles (11)
CS - Jose Altuve (3, 2nd base by Rzepczynski/Molina)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Brian Bogusevic 2
DP - Bogusevic-Towles
E - J.B. Shuck (1, Throwing), J.R. Towles (6, Throwing)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Henry Sosa 3.1555210 5.23
David Carpenter 2.2300130 2.93
Enerio Del Rosario (BS,2; L,0-3) 0.2233100 4.58
Wesley Wright 0.1211000 1.50
Fernando Rodriguez 1333101 3.96
Juan Abreu 1211001 2.70
HBP - Jay (by Juan Abreu)
WP - Henry Sosa (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Henry Sosa 62-34, David Carpenter 42-30, Enerio Del Rosario 22-11, Wesley Wright 7-4, Fernando Rodriguez 25-16, Juan Abreu 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Henry Sosa 3-5, David Carpenter 2-3, Juan Abreu 1-2
Batters Faced - Henry Sosa 16, David Carpenter 12, Enerio Del Rosario 5, Wesley Wright 3, Fernando Rodriguez 6, Juan Abreu 6
Game Information
Attendance - 22021
Game Time - 3:35
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Paul Nauert