Renteria leads big comeback

Monday, April 14, 2003

HOUSTON -- Edgar Renteria made sure Roy Oswalt remained winless against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Renteria homered twice and matched a career high with five RBIs as St. Louis roughed up Oswalt and rallied past the Houston Astros 11-8 Sunday. The Cardinals trailed 5-1 after three innings and 6-4 after six.

"You don't try to get home runs, they just happen," Renteria said. "The first one was a good pitch. It was an inside fastball but I was looking for it. The second home run was an outside fastball. I wasn't looking for it, but I saw it and I got a good swing at it."

Renteria hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and three-run shot in a six-run seventh against Oswalt (1-1), who gave up a career-high 10 runs. He is 0-2 lifetime with a 4.70 ERA in six starts against the Cardinals.

"He's pitched really good but we've pitched good against him," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "Today he was pitching good, there was just that one inning.

"We haven't really beaten him. Today is the first day we've really gotten any runs off him."

The Cardinals took two of three in a series between teams that have combined for the last seven NL Central titles. The Astros won both meetings last weekend in St. Louis.

Jeff Bagwell homered twice and drove in three runs for Houston. Lance Berkman and Craig Biggio added solo shots.

Berkman, who led the NL with 128 RBIs last season, knocked in his first run of the year with a single in the first inning.

Renteria capped the seventh-inning outburst with his third homer of the season, giving him four career multihomer games. Renteria also had five RBIs on Sept. 4 last year against Cincinnati.

"I kind of left the ball up some," Oswalt said. "But that happens. The longer you pitch the more it's going to happen. You've got to take the good with the bad. You can't pitch well every time you go out there."

Kiko Calero (1-0) pitched two hitless innings for his first big league victory, capping two days of effective bullpen work for the Cardinals.

"It's a big plus for us," La Russa said. "There is a lot of newness there and everyone is trying to come together and get comfortable in a role. To have two days like that here against this club in this park could be very important to us."

Miguel Cairo homered and drove in two runs.

"You come in here and get two of three and almost three games, and you face Oswalt on the last day, you just battle," Cairo said. "He was ahead for five innings but we just battled to the end and we didn't give up."

Oswalt allowed 10 runs -- five earned -- and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked three and struck out eight.

"His stuff was good, but his location hurt him, especially in that last inning," Houston manager Jimy Williams said. "Usually if you score eight runs with Oswalt on the mound, you've got a pretty good chance to win."

Astros shortstop Jose Vizcaino made a big throwing error in the seventh, and the Cardinals also got an RBI double from Tino Martinez.

Oswalt had control problems from the start. Cairo's sacrifice fly in the second gave St. Louis its first run. Renteria homered in the fourth after Albert Pujols walked. Scott Rolen's RBI double in the fifth came after Oswalt walked Orlando Palmeiro.

Bagwell and Berkman hit consecutive homers in the third.

Jason Simontacchi had another rough start for St. Louis. He walked two batters in the first and Berkman followed with a single to left field. Jeff Kent hit a two-run double to the right-field corner.

Simontacchi lasted only three innings in his first start on Tuesday at Colorado, allowing five runs and seven hits over three innings. This time, he went four innings, allowing six runs and four walks.

Bagwell hit a two-run shot off Dustin Hermanson in the ninth. Bagwell has 28 career multihomer games, including two this season. The other one came on opening day.Noteworthy

***Mike Matheny had caught every inning for the Cardinals this season until Eli Marrero started Sunday.

***Cardinals 2B Fernando Vina sat out his third straight game with inflammation in his right hand.

***Pujols was ejected in the seventh inning by plate umpire Gary Darling.

***Oswalt's five earned runs allowed equaled the most he yielded in any start last season.

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