Cheap Seats

June 8: Astros 4, Cardinals 1

When the Cardinals finally broke through against Bud Norris in his last start at Busch Stadium, they did it buy laying off the junk outside the strike zone and forcing him to throw pitches over the plate.

They abandoned their successful formula Wednesday and they paid the price, not breaking through with a hit before the seventh inning when Lance Berkman hit a solo home run.

Norris one-hit the Cardinals over eight inning while walking five. He struck out two, but got results from enticing hitters to reach for pitches that they should have let go. Norris threw 104 pitches in the game -- only 56 of them were strikes.

Matt Carpenter has shown great improvement since spring training in the glove department. He made a fantastic play to his right to snag a high bouncing ball. He sprung to his feet and threw a long peg to first base that replays indicated beat the runner by a split second. But the first base umpire ruled he was safe.

Pujols, just before Berkman broke up the no hitter in the seventh, hit a ball about 425 feat to straightaway centerfield but the ballpark held it for a long flyout. Pujols missed by a few feet the extension of his home run streak to five games.

Starting pitcher Jaime Garcia was mediocre. he pitched five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. He's been much better at Busch than on the road. But his stats are skewed by early season bullpen troubles and his start two turns ago in Colorado.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Berkman provided all of the scoring. Albert Pujols was the only other Redbird to collect a base hit.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Berkman's homer.

Lowlight: Norris' wildness helped to end Ryan Theriot's 19-game hitting streak. More selective than most of his teammates, Theriot accepted a pair of walks in his four plate appearances, so he really only had two chances to get a hit and couldn't get the job done. He also had the disadvantage of hitting with a sore left hand. In the first inning Theriot tried to break up a Pujols double play by sliding hard into second base with his hands in the air. The throw from the Houston shortstop hit him squarely in his left hand. Judging from his initial reaction, I was surprised to see Theriot be able to continue.

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