Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook struggled early, and the Cards offense was quiet for the first few innings, but they flipped the switch in the fourth inning and never looked back, pounding out 13 runs in a 17 hit attack led by Allen Craig (3-for-5, 3 RBI) and Matt Holliday (2-for-5, 4 RBI).
The Astros struck first, scoring in the first inning when Westbrook fielded a chopper off the bat of Ben Francisco and threw wildly to first base, allowing Brett Wallace to score. They tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second, on a sacrifice fly by Dallas Keuchel and an RBI single by Jose Altuve, and another in the top of the fourth on an Altuve sacrifice fly.
The bottom of the fourth inning saw the Cards answer back, when David Freese followed a Carlos Beltran walk and a ground rule double off the bat of Yadier Molina with a three-run blast into the Cards bullpen in right-center field, his 17th of the year.
The Cards broke it open in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI infield single by Craig, a three-run double by Holiday, and an RBI single by Molina. They continued to pour in on the sixth inning with an RBI double off the bat of Craig, and added insurance in the eighth, when they tagged the Astros bullpen for four more runs on an RBI single by Rafael Furcal, an RBI double from Craig, an RBI single by Holliday, and when Craig scored on an infield single off the bat of Freese.
The Cardinals (68-56) start a pivotal three-game set against the Reds in Cincinnati tomorrow at Great American Ballpark.
The Astros (39-86) head to Citi Field to take on the New York Mets in a three-game series.
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