A day after Chris Carpenter struggled uncharacteristically, Adam Wainwright suffered no such problems.
Wainwright completely shut down the struggling Astros with eight innings with six hits and a walk allowed. He struck out seven and had an easy answer for every Astros rally with a whiff or a double play.
Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez had no such luck. He lasted only 4 1/3 innings against the Cardinals with seven hits, two walks and four earned runs allowed.
Redbirds rightfielder Ryan Ludwick did much of the damage. I'm not sure if it was the home cooking or the move from the lower part of the batting order up to the two spot in front of Albert Pujols. But he was 4-for-4 with a triple off the centerfield wall, a run scored and an RBI Monday to raise his season batting average to .280. It seems from manager Tony La Russa's post game comments that Ludwick may stay second in the order for a while.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols did the most damage at the plate, collecting two hits including a three-run home run to put the game out of reach of the weakened Houston lineup early.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Wainwright. Pujols and Ludwick were great. But Wainwright owned this one... Besides his great pitching, he doubled and walked and may have scored all the runs he needed to win himself if Skip Schumaker wouldn't have failed twice to bunt him over.
Play of the Game: Pujols put things out of reach with his fifth homer of the young season -- a three-run job -- in the third inning.
Lowlight: Busch Stadium just wasn't made for 3 p.m. games. At least not for those of us who sit in the outfield. Even with sunglasses on I couldn't see the ball because of the glare. A more substantial roof could have gone a long way to solve this problem -- and maybe give people a place for some shelter from the rain...
The pre-game festivities included appearances from not only the current Cardinals and the team's Hall of Famers but also members of the 1985 National League champions. That club's manager -- and the newest Hall of Famer, Whitey Herzog -- threw out the cermonial first pitch in front of what was reported to be the largest regular season crowd in the history of Busch Stadium III. The loudest ovation was saved for Stan "The Man" Musial who took a lap around the warning track in a tricked out golf cart.
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