The Cardinals out-sloppied the worst team in baseball Wednesday night and fell back to second place, half a game behind the Brewers.
The Birds managed only six hits thanks, in large part, to future hall of famer Bud Norris who started the game for Houston. They managed to tie the contest at two, but couldn't capitalize on leadoff double in the eighth inning when Jon Jay failed to get a bunt down to move the potential go-ahead run to third. Yadi Molina drove a ball to deep center that would have made the game 3-2 St. Louis.
Instead, reliever Mitchell Boggs came into a tie game and gave up one run legitimately to give the Astros a 3-2 lead... A fourth run scored when Jay's throw hit the mound and took a left turn. Boggs, backing up the plate, seemed in position to make a save. But the ball hit the Astros' on deck batter and veered away to allow another run to score.
In the bottom of the ninth Nick Punto led off with a walk and David Freese followed with a single. Daniel Descalso bunted the runners over to put the tying run on second with one out. But Ryan Theriot and Albert Pujols whiffed to end the game and give Houston the 4-2 win.
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The Cardinals played the game short-handed thanks to the trade that sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto. While Corey Patterson and Edwin Jackson arrived just after the start of the game, the two relievers the Birds landed weren't conspicuous in the bullpen.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Chris Carpenter made another solid start, allowing two runs over seven innings. But the Birds couldn't score enough to help him to a win.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Molina made a heckuva catch on the visitors dugout end of the screen behind the plate, leaping up over a low spot and snagging a foul ball for a key out.
Lowlight: Too few hits. Too many wasted opportunities.