The Cardinals' 7-4 win Tuesday
night at Houston had a lot of staples.
Left fielder Lance Berkman, a former Astros star who hit two home runs in the final game of the
series the last time the Cardinals were in Houston, drilled another a two-run
homer in the first inning, running his career total to 154 homers at Minute Maid
First baseman Albert Pujols, white hot after an up-and-down first two months, homered for the fourth
game in a row. His fifth homer in that span and 14th of the season was a
monstrous shot to deep left center in the eighth inning.
Shortstop Ryan Theriot
extended his hitting streak to 20 games, longest active streak in the league,
with a two-out, run-scoring double in the ninth inning. It was the second
straight game that Theriot had doubled in his final at-bat and marked the fifth
time in the streak he had hit safely in his last trip to the plate.
Reliever Fernando Salas,
one of the biggest surprises of the season, pitched out of a bases-loaded,
no-out spot in the eighth inning when the Cardinals led just 6-3. Salas, who has
11 saves in 12 tries, allowed a run in the ninth in a rare two-inning save, but
the eighth-inning escape, said Berkman, "was the turning point, for sure."
But then there was a bit
of the unexpected. Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook, a .100 hitter with one run
batted in this season, drove in three runs with one swing. Third baseman Daniel Descalso was walked intentionally with two out to fill the bases for Westbrook
in the fourth. But Houston starter Brett Myers hung a slider and
Westbrook doubled to left center, clearing the bases.
"That was not expected,"
said manager Tony La Russa.
Westbrook hadn't had a
hit in nearly two months. "It was a good time to get another one," he said. The
intentional walk, he said, "was a good play. I just happned to run into
The Cardinals, who have
had an intimate knowledge of the disabled list this season, lost another player,
RF Allen Craig, for an undetermined period of time. Chasing a foul fly by
Houston SS Clint Barmes in the first inning, Craig suffered a bruised right knee
when he banged into a metal fence in front of the box seats. Craig had three
stitches and is listed as "day to day."
The victory was the
Cardinals' fourth in a row, tying their season high. But their perch of 12 games
above .500 is their season best, and they have the best record in baseball
(37-25) with 100 games left.
RHP Fernando Salas posted
the first two-inning save by a Cardinals pitcher in three years. He issued a
walk to the first man he faced in the eighth after rookie reliever Eduardo Sanchez had passed two hitters in a row to start the inning. But then Salas
pitched out of the jam with two strikeouts and a short flyball. "I told him,
'We'll see you next week at home,' " joked manager Tony La Russa, referring to
the rest Salas will need. "That was beyond the call of duty," said La Russa.
"You won't see him the rest of this series, that's for sure. He's got great
The Cardinals' bullpen
had some control issues but also got huge strikeouts. Besides Salas' two
strikeouts in the eighth, reliever Jason Motte, after forcing in a run with a
hit batsman in the sixth, struck out Houston CF Michael Bourn on a 97 mile an
hour fastball with the bases loaded. Motte then got a forceout on the next play
to maintain a two-run lead.
Cardinals—RHPs Adam Wainwright and Kyle McClellan and 3B David Freese—will
travel to Joplin, Mo., on Wednesday to represent the club at a press conference
with Governor Jay Nixon to announce a fundraising effort for the Missouri city
ravaged by a recent tornado. The Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals will play
a series in St.
Louis in 10 days and will wear special patches that also
will be sold, with proceeds going to charity.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9-for-17 - OF Lance Berkman's
performance through his first four games back at Houston's Minute Maid
Park as a member of the
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is a great place to hit, a
great place to see the ball."
- Lance Berkman on his
success at Minute
LF Matt Holliday
(strained left quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June
RHP Kyle McClellan (left
hip flexor strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31. He is
expected to return and start by the June 14-16 series against Washington.
C Gerald Laird (broken
right index finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23. He will be out
INF Nick Punto (right
forearm flexor strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May
3B David Freese (broken
left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had surgery May 3, and he
is expected to be out until mid- to late July.
RHP Bryan Augenstein
(strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13. He was
transferred to the 60-day DL on May 16.
RHP Adam Wainwright
(Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25.
He will miss the entire 2011 season.
Wed., June 8 at Houston: LHP Jaime Garcia (6-1, 3.05) vs. RHP Bud Norris
(3-4, 3.95) 7:05 P.M.
CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and
Cardinals Radio Network).