Cards bounce back, wrap up three-game sweep of Astros

Friday, May 24, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- Coming from behind is becoming a habit for the St. Louis Cardinals.

J.D. Drew broke an eighth-inning tie with an RBI single -- his second straight go-ahead hit -- as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 5-4 victory Thursday.

St. Louis, which trailed 4-2 in the seventh inning in the finale and 2-1 after four innings on Wednesday, has 26 victories -- 18 after trailing in a game.

"Once you do it once or twice, you know you have it in you," said Jim Edmonds, who was 3-for-4 with his 11th home run and two RBIs. "That's a big key to have on a ballclub, the ability to have a comeback."

The Cardinals have won five in a row for the third time this season and are two games behind first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central. They swept the Astros for the first time since Sept. 2-4, 1996, also at Busch Stadium and completed a 9-1 homestand. They came from behind in five of the victories.

Houston has lost four in a row after winning seven straight.

"It was three tough games here," manager Jimy Williams said. "They got key hits in two-out situations today. Actually, they did that for the whole series."

Drew, who didn't start the previous two games because he was in a 1-for-17 slump, hit a tiebreaking home run in the ninth on Wednesday for a 3-2 victory.

"The two days of work helped a lot," Drew said. "Anytime you can get a couple of days of mental rest, a lot of times you can make some adjustments in your head and get a more positive outlook."

Miguel Cairo singled with one out in the ninth off Octavio Dotel (2-2). Vina greeted Billy Wagner, pitching for the first time in four days, with a double and Drew followed by lining a first-pitch fastball to right.

"I just tried to put it in play," Drew said. "He's usually around the strike zone, and I got a pretty good pitch to handle."

Shane Reynolds, who left with a 4-2 lead in the seventh, wasn't complaining.

"These guys are human," Reynolds said. "Dotel's not going to set it up perfectly every time for Wagner and Wagner's not going to save every game. That's just the way it is."

The Cardinals tied it in the seventh on an RBI double by Edmonds and Eli Marrero's two-out, bases-loaded walk off Dotel. The next batter, Kerry Robinson, worked the count to 3-1 before grounding out.

Luther Hackman (1-2) allowed a hit in the eighth and Jason Isringhausen finished for his 12th save in 13 chances.

"Everything's great, everybody's happy and everybody's smiling," Isringhausen said.

Cardinals starter Matt Morris, who spent part of Wednesday night at a hospital receiving IV fluids for stomach flu, lasted 4 1/3 innings -- his shortest outing of the year. Morris gave up four runs on seven hits.

He wouldn't say if the fluids helped.

"Nothing did the trick," Morris said. "I'm not going to talk about the way I felt, whether I was sick or not. I'm just not making pitches.,"

Reynolds gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings.

Daryle Ward had a two-run single and Jeff Bagwell had an RBI double in the first for the Astros for a 3-0 lead. Julio Lugo had an RBI single in the fourth to make it 4-2.

Tino Martinez added an RBI single in the third. He's 10-for-23 during a seven-game hitting streak.

Noteworthy

Edmonds was 14-for-37 (.378) on the homestand with three homers, nine RBIs and five walks.

Morris' outing was his shortest since going 2 1-3 innings and allowing eight runs at Cleveland on July 6, 2001.

The Cardinals completed their first nine-victory homestand since April 19-May 1, 1991, when they were 9-4 on a 13-game stand. They had two 7-0 homestands last year.

Lance Berkman, who was 1-for-2 with two walks, is 4-for-29 against the Cardinals this year.

Martinez is 10-for-23 during a seven-game hitting streak.

The Astros are 13-9 at home and 8-16 on the road.

The Cardinals (26-21) are five games above .500 for the first time since April 13, when they were 8-3.

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