Cardinals hold on to win game two in Houston

In a classic definition of "winning ugly," St. Louis held on for a 4-3 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park Wednesday night.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Somehow, despite committing three errors, striking out 15 times and having their last 20 hitters go down in order, the Cardinals won 4-3 Wednesday night at Houston.

 

They did so because closer Jason Motte, called on for the second time in three days to get four outs by his increasingly anxious manager, Mike Matheny, did indeed get four outs.

 

Five relievers were needed to record the last 10 outs after right-hander Adam Wainwright weakened following four hitless innings. "We burned through them a bit, which might be something we're going to have to do for a while," Matheny said. "A game like that ... we've got to pull out all the stops."

 

But Matheny admitted, "Going through four or five relievers in a game ... that adds up. It does wear on them and we're going to have to be careful."

 

But the big news was that the Cardinals jumped nemesis Bud Norris, the Houston right-hander, for three runs on five hits, including a homer by second baseman Daniel Descalso, who was 5-for-9 against Norris at that point.

 

That Norris fanned two batters in each of his six innings can be ignored a bit because the Cardinals won for only the third time in nine games on their 10-game trip.

 

Despite some sloppy fielding much of the night, Descalso came up with the play of the night. In the eighth inning, Descalso slid to retrieve a high throw off his glove by first baseman Matt Adams on a bunt attempt, got to his feet and threw strongly to the plate to retire Houston catcher Jason Castro. The latter had been waved home from first with no one out -- and for no apparent good reason.

 

"Daniel didn't slow down at all," said Matheny. "A blind throw. Obviously, that was the play of the game."

 

Descalso said, "I just tried to scramble and get to it as fast as I could. I honestly didn't think they were going to send him with no outs. I made sure I got up ready to throw, just in case. It sort of saved the game for us."

 

One of the better defensive plays was a running catch by left fielder Allen Craig in the second inning. But Craig is paid to hit and he did so. driving in two runs and smacking his seventh homer. He has 24 runs batted in for only 71 at-bats.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

CF Tate Matheny, SS Eduardo Oquendo and RHP Michael Aldrete were taken by the Cardinals in the first-year player draft Wednesday. In order, they are the sons of manager Mike Matheny, third-base coach Jose Oquendo and bench coach Mike Aldrete.

LF Matt Holliday got a rare day off. He had appeared in all 56 previous games and had started all but one.

RHP Adam Wainwright, who gained the win on Wednesday, raised his record to 11-1 against Houston, and his earned run average is 1.59 against the Astros. Wainwright fanned eight in 5 2/3 innings as he won for the third time in four starts and raised his record to 5-6. "Actually," said Wainwright, " I had pretty good stuff, stuff that was good enough to carry my team deep into the game. And I didn't do it. As a starter, you think you're not doing your job if you don't go seven. You're really not doing your job if you're not going six."

LHP Jaime Garcia, who lasted just two innings on Tuesday, giving up six runs, returned to St. Louis to be examined for the second time in just more than a week. The focus the first time was his left elbow, which Garcia said felt fine after a few days off. The focus this time is the left shoulder, said general manager John Mozeliak, who after talking to the training staff said it was unlikely Garcia would make his next scheduled start on Sunday. A trip to the disabled list seems unlikely.

Rookie 1B Matt Adams is experiencing the ups and downs to the start of a big-league career. Adams had five multi-hit games in his first nine starts, went hitless in his next four starts, plus two pinch-hitting appearances and then hit a 440-plus homer in Houston on Tuesday. Then he fanned three times on Wednesday and committed a throwing error.

By the Numbers:

10 - Saves for RHP Jason Motte this season, a career high by one over his 2011 output.

Quote to Note:

"All we know is something isn't right."

- Manager Mike Matheny on the health and well-being of LHP Jaime Garcia, yanked from Tuesday's start after giving up six runs in two innings.

MEDICAL WATCH

2B-OF Skip Schumaker (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31.

3B David Freese (mildly sprained right wrist) did not play May 28-31. He was back in the lineup June 1.

LHP Jaime Garcia (left elbow) experienced discomfort after his May 26 start. An MRI showed no damage, and after missing a turn, he returned for his June 5 start. However, he might be skipped over when his June 10 start comes up.

CF Jon Jay (separated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 15. He was told to not swing a bat for a week, which means he'll be inactive through about June 7.

INF Matt Carpenter (strained right oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23.

1B Lance Berkman (torn meniscus in right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list May 20. He had arthroscopic surgery May 25, and no ACL damage was found. He might return in mid- to late July.

RHP Kyle McClellan (strained right ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18. He won't need surgery but likely will be sidelined at least late July.

RHP Scott Linebrink (right shoulder capsulitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30. He felt tightness during an April 30 bullpen session, and he didn't appear close to a return.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He probably won't pitch until at least late July.

Link to boxscore: St. Louis 4 at Houston 3.


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