Looper blamed nobody. But neither the Cardinals' offense nor defense was very good Friday night.
The Cardinals had only two singles off journeyman Houston right-hander Brian Moehler over seven innings. And they committed two errors and made another misplay in the field.
The team didn't get into Houston until 3 a.m. local time after a long day-night doubleheader Thursday in Washington, but manager Tony La Russa said, "We were ready to play. ... (Moehler) didn't throw anything over the middle of the plate."
Through four games on their first nine-game swing of four they will have this season, the Cardinals are 2-2.
ASTROS 6, CARDINALS 1: The Cardinals had just four singles for the game Friday, two each by 2B Adam Kennedy, who scored their run in the eighth inning, and CF Skip Schumaker, who drove it in. RHP Braden Looper worked six durable innings and only one reliever, rookie RHP Mitchell Boggs, was needed as a tired bullpen got a rest.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Mitchell Boggs, 5-1 with a 3.28 earned run average at Class AAA Memphis, was the eighth Cardinals player to make his major league debut this season. He pitched the final two innings, giving up a home run to 3B Geoff Blum and inducing two double plays.
After a doubleheader taxed the Cardinals' staff on Thursday, Boggs was brought up from Memphis and RHP Mike Parisi, who gave up eight runs in each of his two starts, was sent back to Memphis.
--RHP Kelvin Jimenez, who had been optioned to Memphis a few days ago, had his option rescinded and was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised right hand suffered, he said, when he was jammed while batting. LHP Tyler Johnson, out for the season after left shoulder surgery, was moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL.
--CF Rick Ankiel, bothered by a right knee infection, returned to St. Louis to be treated, as did RHP Todd Wellemeyer, who has what the club said was some elbow inflammation. Ankiel isn't likely to play in the Houston series while Wellemeyer's start on Tuesday in Cincinnati is questionable. Boggs may make that start. Wellemeyer is 7-1 with a 2.92 ERA.
--Rookie RF Joe Mather represented three of the nine strikeouts the Cardinals had Friday.