Loss ends Hous­ton’s mis­er­able first half

Astros al­low 3-run Hol­l­i­day homer as Cards win se­ries

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Kristie Rieken

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.

David J. Phillip

Lance Berk­man re­acts af­ter strik­ing out in the ninth in­ning. Hous­ton took a 2-0, first-in­ning lead and was shut out from there.

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