Matt Carpenter continues to show why he is an All-Star.
The Cardinals’ second baseman came up with the clutch hit Wednesday night, a 2-run home run in the seventh inning that put the birds on top for the first time in the game, leading to a 5-4 win and a sweep against the visiting Astros.
Seth Maness (5-1, 2.73 ERA) got the win in this one, as he came in relief in the sixth inning after starter Shelby Miller struggled.
Miller only lasted five innings, giving up three runs and walking a career high five batters, but the offense had his back. After Miller departed the game in the fifth inning trailing 3-1, Matt Holliday singled home two runs in the bottom half, resulting in a no-decision for the rookie pitcher.
Matt Adams was 2-4 on the night with an RBI single, and Yadier Molina struck out in a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning.
Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to get the win, even though Mujica ran into some trouble.
After a single from Brett Wallace and an error from Daniel Descalso gave Houston runners on first and second with only one out, Mujica got pinch-hit power hitter Carlos Pena to ground out into a game-ending double-play.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals travel to Chicago to face the Cubs, with Jake Westbrook (5-3, 2.78 ERA) facing former Cardinal Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.50 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
The Cardinals responded in the seventh inning—in a big way.
Astros’ starter Jordan Lyles began the seventh by hitting Tony Cruz with a pitch, then got Yadier Molina to ground out in a pinch-hit appearance. Houston went to the bullpen, calling for Wesley Wright to face Matt Carpenter.
On the third pitch of the at-bat, the All-Star second baseman crushed a two-run home run to right field to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead.
Trevor Rosenthal will come in to pitch the eighth inning.
The Astros have broken the tie in the seventh inning.
Jose Altuve led off the inning with a single off of Cardinals’ reliever Seth Maness. One out later, Chris Carter walked, setting up an RBI single to right field off the bat of Brett Wallace.
With runners on the corners and only one out, Maness was able to get strike out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
The Astros lead 4-3 heading into the seventh inning stretch.
The Cardinals have tied it up in the fifth thanks to a clutch at-bat from Matt Holliday.
With one out in the inning, Tony Cruz got on base via an infield single. Shane Robinson pinch-hit for Shelby Miller, and drilled the ball to right field on a perfectly executed hit-and-run. With runners on the corners and one out, Astros’ pitcher Jordan Lyle walked Matt Carpenter to load the bases for Jon Jay. Jay struck out, but with Holliday on deck, Lyle would have his work cut out for him.
Holliday watched the first five pitches cross the plate without swinging his bat as the count went full. On the sixth pitch with the runners moving, he drilled a ball to right field to score both Cruz and Robinson to tie the game at 3-3.
Seth Maness now comes into the game to pitch the sixth inning.
The Astros have pushed one more run across in the fifth inning, increasing their lead to 3-1.
Catcher Jason Castro started off the inning with a ground-rule double over the head of Jon Jay, and after a strikeout and a groundout, Castro was driven in by J.D. Martinez on a single up the middle.
Cardinals’ starter Shelby Miller struggled in this one. He walked a career high five batters, and labored through 94 pitches in only five innings.
He had six 3-2 counts, resulting in four walks, a strikeout, and a groundout.
Seth Maness is set to come into the game in the sixth.
Matt Adams got one run back for pitcher Shelby Miller.
Allen Craig led off the inning with a walk, and quickly landed on second base after Astros pitcher Jordan Lyles’ wild pitch. But Craig wouldn’t be there for long. Adams singled to center on the next pitch, driving in Craig to cut the Astros’ lead 2-1.
Adams is playing first tonight, while Craig is in right field. Carlos Beltran has the night off.
Miller heads back to the mound for the third inning, after throwing 16 balls in his first 34 pitches.
Shelby Miller got into some trouble in the second inning.
With his first pitch, left fielder Chris Carter put the Astros on the board with his 18th home run of the season. It was a line-drive that bounced off the top of the right field wall.
Miller then gave up a single to former Cardinals top prospect Brett Wallace, and walked J.D. Martinez. After a groundout from Brandon Barnes that advanced the runners to second and third, Matt Dominguez hit a ground ball to Matt Carpenter, who made his 11th error on the season.
Wallace scored on the error, giving the Astros a 2-0 lead.
Miller threw only 11 pitches in the first inning, but labored through 23 pitches in the second inning. 16 of his first 34 pitches went for balls, and he's already walked three batters.
More to come from Busch...
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny meant it when he said All-Star catcher Yadier Molina should expect to have more days off in the second half of the season.
After sitting out Saturday's and Sunday's games because of knee inflammation and then playing seven innings Tuesday night, Molina is back on the bench for tonight's against the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium.
“It’s just what we’re doing moving forward,” Matheny said. “Taking opportunities that we have to give (Molina) a little bit of rest.”
Tony Cruz will catch Shelby Miller (9-6) as the rookie righthander tries to become the third double-digit winner in the Cardinals rotation. Adam Wainwright won his 12th game Tuesday, and Lance Lynn picked up his 11th win Sunday.
Miller bounced back from two rough starts in his most recent outing last week against the Angels, going six innings and allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six in the win. He has never started against the Astros, pitching one inning in relief against the former NL Central rivals last season.
Carlos Beltran also is out tonight as Matheny worked Matt Adams into the lineup at first base and moved Allen Craig to right field.
1. Carpenter, 2B
2. Jay, CF
3. Holliday, LF
4. Craig, RF
5. Adams, 1B
6. Freese, 3B
7. Descalso, SS
8. Cruz, C
9. Miller, P
1. Elmore, SS
2. Altuve, 2B
3. Castro, C
4. Carter, LF
5. Wallace, 1B
6. Martinez, RF
7. Barnes, CF
8. Dominguez, 3B
9. Lyles, P