The Cardinals are in their worst funk of the young season, after falling to the Astros 4-3 in Houston. St. Louis, which has now lost four in a row, couldn’t hold on to an early 2-0 lead. So Taguchi’s two-run double in the top of the second inning gave the Cardinals the early cushion, but it didn’t last long. Lance Berkman, who drove in three runs the night before, belted a two run homer off St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter to tie the game 2-2 in the fourth.
Astros center fielder Willy Taveras broke the tie with an RBI single in the fifth inning. Jason Lane’s RBI single in the sixth inning made it 4-2, Astros. David Eckstein got St. Louis to within a run in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single. Astros’ starter Andy Pettite was pulled at that point and replaced by reliever Chad Qualls, who induced a grounder from Hector Luna to end the threat.
The Cardinals put runners on in both the eighth and ninth innings, but failed to get a run across. In the ninth, John Rodriguez singled to lead off the inning and Scott Spiezio reached on a one-out single. But David Eckstein flied out to center and Gary Bennett grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Pettite (3-2) got the win, working around seven hits and a walk. Carpenter (3-2) was the loser, going six innings and allowing all four runs off six hits and two walks. Cardinals’ reliever Adam Wainwright pitched two perfect innings of relief and saw his ERA drop to 0.66. Brad Lidge got his 11th save of the season.
Scott Rolen returned to the lineup for the Cardinals after missing nine games and went 2-for-3 with a run.
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