The St. Louis Cardinals are officially eliminated from Major League Baseball’s playoff picture as they drop a 6-3 decision to the Houston Astros Friday night at Busch Stadium.
Houston scored 3 runs in the top of the 1 st inning, 2 of them coming on a 2-run homer by Lance Berkman, his 31 st roundtripper of the season. The Redbirds scored a run in the 1 st and another in the 5 th to narrow the Astros’ lead to 3-2, but then Houston opened it up with a 3-run 8 th inning to take a 6-2 lead.
The Cardinals gave Houston a bit of a scare in the 9 th , loading the bases with two out. Albert Pujols then came in to pinch hit and was walked by reliever Brad Lidge on four pitches to bring in the Cards’ third and final run before Lidge closed the door.
Brandon Backe (2-1) pitched 6 innings for the win, allowing only 2 earned runs on 6 hits. Lidge pitched 1/3 of an inning to earn his 16 th save. St. Louis starter Joel Pineiro (5-4) gave up 3 earned runs on 8 hits in 5 2/3 innings to take the loss.
The Astros have now taken the first two games of this four game weekend series. The Cardinals (67-87) and Astros (72-81) play again Saturday night at Busch Stadium.