Hey Cincinnati, thanks for keeping first place warm for the Cardinals. But they'll take over from here.
Kyle McClellan pitched eight strong innings and Gerald Laird and Allen Craig powered the Birds to a 4-2 win over the Astros on a rainy Thursday at Busch Stadium. Meanwhile the Reds were swept in a two game set by the Pirates to move St. Louis back into first place in the National League Central standings.
McClellan improved to 6-1 by holding Houston to five hits and two runs. He struck out five and walked one. He also, oddly, uncorked two wild pitches in the same inning.
St. Louis took the lead in the bottom of the second inning when Craig singled to lead off and Colby Rasmus followed with a walk. Laird doubled to left field to push both runners across the plate to make it 2-0.
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The Astros cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth on a Carlos Lee sacrifice fly. But the Redbirds got their two-run margin back in the sixth when Craig hit a lead-off home run to make the score 3-1.
Daniel Descalso reached on an error to lead off the second. He was sacrificed to second by McClellan and then scored when Ryan Theriot singled to make it 4-1. Houston got a run back in the top of the eighth when McClellan had his bout of wildness.
But Fernando Salas pitched around a ninth inning single to notch the save and put the Birds back in first place.
Cardinals Star of the Game: McClellan
Cardinals Play of the Game: Laird's two-run double
Lowlight: Tyler Greene was 0-for-4 to slip to .217 on the season