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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

Cardinals squander chance to pull even

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

(Photo)
Houston's Angel Sanchez puts down a bunt to score the winning run during the 10th inning Monday in Houston.
(DAVID PHILLIP ~ Associated Press)
HOUSTON -- St. Louis missed out on a chance to join Atlanta atop the wild-card standings when Brian Bogusevic scored on Angel Sanchez's bunt in the 10th inning Monday night, giving the Houston Astros a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals.

The slumping Braves lost to Philadelphia, but the Cardinals weren't able to take advantage of the opening.

St. Louis rallied from three runs down to force extra innings, but Bogusevic doubled off Octavio Dotel (3-3) in the 10th and advanced on Jason Bourgeois' bunt. Sanchez then dropped a bunt in front of the plate, and Bogusevic charged home as Dotel mishandled his attempt to flip the ball to catcher Yadier Molina with his glove.

Astros closer Mark Melancon (8-4) pitched two scoreless innings.

St. Louis had won 15 of 20 to close the gap on the Braves, who have dropped 16 of 25 games in September.

(Photo)
Astros baserunner Brian Bogusevic slides across home plate to score the winning run during the 10th inning Monday in Houston.
(DAVID PHILLIP ~ Associated Press)
Former Astros star Lance Berkman hit a tying two-run double off Wesley Wright in the eighth. Matt Holliday had an RBI single for St. Louis.

Matt Downs hit a two-run homer for the Astros.

Houston led 2-1 in the fourth when Jaime Garcia walked Carlos Lee. Downs then drove a 1-0 pitch into the left-field porch for his 10th home run of the season.

Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez pitched out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth, getting David Freese to roll into a double play before fanning Albert Pujols.

The Astros escaped more trouble in the seventh. Ryan Theriot and Jon Jay led off with singles, and Nick Punto moved up the runners with a sacrifice.

Astros manager Brad Mills brought in Wilton Lopez to relieve Rodriguez, who threw 102 pitches. Lopez then retired pinch-hitters Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso on groundouts.

By then, the left-field scoreboard had posted the Phillies' 4-2 win over Atlanta, and the Cardinals didn't waste their next scoring opportunity.

Pujols singled and Holliday walked leading off the eighth against Fernando Rodriguez.

Mills brought in the left-handed Wright to force the switch-hitting Berkman to bat right-handed.

Holliday and Pujols pulled off a double steal, and Berkman doubled off the scoreboard, only his sixth double hitting right-handed this season.

Noteworthy

* Holliday led off the second inning with his team-leading 36th double.

* Cardinals SS Rafael Furcal left the game in the fifth inning with tightness in his left hamstring. Punto replaced him.

* Astros LF J.D. Martinez left in the fifth with a bruised left foot.

* Wright had not allowed a run in 17th consecutive appearances before Berkman's double.

* Berkman has 14 RBIs against Houston this season.


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