Loss ends Houston’s miserable first half
Astros allow 3-run Holliday homer as Cards win series
HOUSTON — After a sweep in Colorado, the St. Louis Cardinals were looking for a positive finish to the first half of the season.
They found it in Houston, where Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer in a 4-2 win over the Astros on Sunday that gave them a series win heading into the All-Star break.
The Cardinals trailed 2-0 before Holliday’s shot to left field in the fourth inning. It was his 16th home run of the season.
“We were playing for our lives,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of his team, which ended the first half in second place behind Cincinnati. “That describes what we did. We’re alive and kicking. Houston has played us pretty tough. They have a winning record against us.”
But not against many other teams. Houston hits the break with a 36-53 record.
Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez’s winning streak was snapped at three after he allowed four hits and three runs with six strikeouts.
“That one pitch was a good pitch inside, and he hit the ball for a home run,” Rodriguez said of Holliday’s shot. “It wasn’t a mistake.”
The Astros’ Michael Bourn walked in the first inning before a single by Jeff Keppinger, and Bourn scored on a single by Carlos Lee with one out. Keppinger scored on a single by Hunter Pence to make it 2-0.
Rodriguez (6-11) retired the first 10 batters he faced before rookie Jon Jay extended his hitting streak to 11 games on a single with one out in the fourth inning. A single by Albert Pujols set up Holliday’s fifth home run in the last six games and gave St. Louis a 32 lead.
Houston had 10 hits but couldn’t string them together.
Lance Berkman reacts after striking out in the ninth inning. Houston took a 2-0, first-inning lead and was shut out from there.