The rivalry between the Astros and the Cardinals runs deep. For many years these two teams dominated the NL Central. This season, there’s been no doubt which team has taken the lead as the Astros have struggled. But tonight the ‘Stros seemed to find steam in that old rivalry and pulled off a 10th inning 5-4 win to keep the Cardinals chasing the Braves in the hunt to see postseason play.
Matt Downs, who had another outstanding night at the plate, contributing a 2 run homer in the 4th, said after the game, “There’s more Cardinals fans here than Astro’s fans. It’s good to shut them up.”
Indeed it was good to stun the numbers Cardinals fans. But it was a night of back and forth with St. Louis getting on the board first in the third inning when Matt Holliday singled to send David Freese across the plate.
The Astros countered quickly when Barmes scored on Wandy Rodriguez sacrifice bunt. And then the Astros followed that with Jason Bourgeois doubling to left to send JR Towles home to put them up 2-1 at the end of 3.
The bottom of the fourth would see Downs 2 run homer putting it at 4-2 until in the 5th John Jay scored on a GIDP by Freese. Astros still led 4-2. The scoring went quiet until the top of the eighth when Albert Pujols singled, Matt Holliday walked then stole 2nd base and Lance Berkman came to the plate. He was set to bat left, so onto the mound came Wesley Wright, forcing Berkman to bat right. The switch hitter proved his dominance in Minute Maid Park by doubling to shortstop sending both Pujols and Holliday home. The game was tied at 4.
The next inning was scoreless and sent the game into extras. The top of the 10th saw Adron Chambers line out, Yadier Molina double on a fly to center, Theriot singling, but with Molina being thrown out at 3rd and finally, Theriot was caught stealing second to send the Astros to the plate.
Brian Bogusevic hit a well placed fly to left giving the Astros a lead-off double to start their 10th. Jason Bourgeois with the sac bunt was able to get on base thanks to an error by pitcher, Octavio Dotel, as Bogie advanced to third. The Angel Sanchez gave a walk-off bunt to seal the game 5-4.
Oh what a night! The excitement off a walk-off (the Astros’ 8th of the season), the ability to make the postseason a bit further away for an old rival, and a win to guarantee no sweep in their last home stand were all highlights.
On a pitching note: Mark Melancon pitched two amazing innings in the 8th and 9th despite knowing his wife was being induced at 10:30pm local time. He headed off to the hospital as soon as his 9th was over. We wish him and his wife, Mary Catherine all the best for a healthy and happy baby.
What a great night of baseball. Does anyone remember a last week of the regular season that was quite this exciting???
One final note – If you go back one post, you’ll see that Drayton McLane thinks Astros fans have no objection to moving the team to the AL and how you can contact him and let him know what you think about taking the Astros out of the NL.