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Cardinals stumble in Houston.

It's not a great way to start the second half to get swept by the Astros and create a traffic jam at the top of the NL Central.

Heck, the Cardinals stumbles have allowed the competition to so successfully catch up that there isn't even really a top of the division anymore. Just a bunch of teams caught up in the middle and the Pirates bringing up the rear.

Chris Carpenter pitched well enough to win... again. But the Cardinals offense couldn't put up enough wins to bring it home... again.

Fortunately, Mark DeRosa has started hitting, knocking in three homers during the Houston series. There could be some tweeks to the offense when Julio Lugo arrives tomorrow. While the offense hasn't found the slugger it needs to hit behind Albert Pujols, it is becoming a bit more balanced.