The St. Louis Cardinals’ troubles are not over. After snapping a five game losing streak against Houston on Friday night, the Astros bounced back in a big way on Saturday, belting out a grand slam home run and 5 doubles, en route to a 13-0 shutout of the Cards before a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The Astros struck first as the first three batters in the lineup singled. Morgan Ensberg led off with a ground ball that skipped off Cardinal third baseman Scott Rolen’s glove and over shortstop David Eckstein’s head into leftfield. Ensberg moved to third on a Mark Loretta single to right. He came home on a Lance Berkman single, giving Houston a 1-0 lead before Redbirds’ starter Kip Wells recorded his first out.
Houston extended its lead to 2-0 in the 4th inning as Carlos Lee walked and scored on a Luke Scott double to left-centerfield.
The Astros took complete control in the 5th. A lead-off walk to Brad Ausmus was an omen of bad things to come. Ausmus moved to second on Houston starter Matt Albers’ sacrifice. Ensberg walked. Ausmus then came around to score on a Loretta single to centerfield. A walk to Berkman loaded them up for Lee, who doubled to clear the bases.
That was it for Kip Wells, who gave way to reliever Tyler Johnson, who promptly gave up a double to Scott – his second twin bagger of the game – driving in Lee with Houston’s seventh run.
Houston scored two more runs in the 6th. Ausmus led off with a double, was sacrificed to third by Albers, then scored on an Ensberg single. Ensberg, who had moved to second on Loretta’s third single of the afternoon, scored on Berkman’s second hit.
Then came the 8th, the second of two big innings for Houston. Four of the first five Astros to bat in the inning reached base, leaving the sacks full for rookie Hunter Pence who blasted his first career home run, a grand slam, to make the score 13-0.
Matt Albers (1-1) pitched 7.1 innings for the win. St. Louis starter Kip Wells (1-6) took the loss, giving up 7 earned runs in 4.1 innings.
Redbirds fans got a little more bad news on Saturday. The team announced injured pitcher Chris Carpenter, who had been making progress in his return to throwing, developed stiffness of his right elbow. Recurrent swelling and loss of motion will result in Carpenter undergoing arthroscopic surgery on the elbow early next week. He’s expected to be out for at least three months.