The Cardinals had to struggle for it, but they achieved their ninth straight series win at new Busch Stadium by beating the Houston Astros, 4-3, in 11 innings, to win the rubber game of a three-game set.
With center fielder Jim Edmonds likely to be out another week or two at least with a lower abdominal injury, the Cardinals are having to improvise in the outfield.
In rubber games of three-game series, the Cardinals have won six of seven. This is one of the reasons they are 15 games over .500 at 34-19.
Catcher Yadier Molina, hitting .176, has done little at bat this season, but he scooted a one-out double past gimpy-legged LF Lance Berkman to set up the Cardinals'winning run in the 11th.
REPLAY: After RHP Jeff Suppan gave the Cardinals six reasonably strong innings, thebullpen knocked off five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. "That's what we're getting accustomed to seeing," said manager Tony La Russa.
RHP Braden Looper had to bat for himself in the 11th with the Cardinals low on benchplayers because of illness and injury. He wasn't going to pitch the 12th but he got the win, his third in three decisions, with a perfect 11th and then the Cardinals' one-run rally in the bottom of the inning.
--CF Jim Edmonds was out for a fifth straight start with a lower abdominal strain. He was to be examined by a sports hernia specialist. No timetable has been set for his return, but if there is significant tearing there, he could be out a month or more. The first move will be to place Edmonds on the 15-day disabled list.
--INF Scott Spiezio was unavailable and not even at the park because of a throat inflammation. Scott should be considered day to day.
--SS David Eckstein, after his hitting streak was snapped at 11 games the night before, bounced back with his league-high 23rd multi-hit game. He was hit on the left hand by a pitch in the 11th inning, but preliminary X-rays were negative.
--With his game-winning single in the 11th, OF So Taguchi improved his batting average with the bases loaded to .533.
--3B Scott Rolen's RBI double increased his hitting streak to six games, in which he has been 9-for-24. He has hit safely in 13 of the last 14 games.