So much for plan B.
In the first game since he was declared the "primary closer" by pitching coach Dave Duncan, St. Louis reliever Mitchell Boggs had an unpleasantly exciting ninth inning... And blew his first save of the season.
Nursing a one-run lead after Lance Berkman doubled home the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth in his Houston homecoming, Boggs gave up a single to the first batter he faced. Catcher Yadier Molina had a passed ball to let the runner go to second and then a misplay of a sacrifice bunt made it first and third with no one out.
Boggs uncorked a wild pitch to let the Astros tie the game. Then he gave up base hits to three of the next four batters to basically force the Astros to accept a win they seemed determined to give away.
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The Cardinals might have had a better chance to defend their lead if they did a better job with their offensive chances. In the top of the ninth with Berkman on second and no one out the next three hitters couldn't advance him.
I wonder if it would have made a difference in the ninth if Boggs had a little bit more cushion pitching in one of the most intimidating offensive parks in baseball.
Albert Pujols, who was held out of the game as a starter, appeared as a pinch hitter late in the game and was intentionally walked. He remained in the game and played first base with no apparent ill effects from his mildly strained left hamstring suffered in the Cardinals Sunday win over the Reds.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Daniel Descalso had his best game in the majors. He was 3-for-3 with a double that scored a pair of Cardinals runs with two out in the third and stake St. Louis to a short-lived 3-0 lead.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Berkman's go ahead double in the ninth. It was his second hit of his first game against the Astros. At the beginning of the game Berkman received a healthy ovation from the Houston fans... Although a few of them could be heard to boo and shout unpleasantries.
Lowlight: Boggs' blown save.