Sunday, March 31, 2013

Houston and St. Louis Split; Sloppy Defense to Blame

Houston has a chance against the cellar-dwelling Cardinals to cut the gap with the first-place Dodgers, but shoot themselves in the foot with five errors in the finale of the four game series. The Astros commit seven errors in the series. Houston is now 26-23, while St. Louis moves to 20-34,

Game 1: STL 7, HOU 2
W: Denny (5-3)
L: Andujar (8-2)
MVP: Denny

The Cards win in a runaway, as Joaquin Andujar doesn't have his good stuff. He is outdueled by John Denny, who has a 2:1 strike-ball ratio and only allows seven Astros baserunners in nine innings. A fading Lou Brock has a nice game, with two RBIs, a double and two-for-four performance.

Game 2: HOU 4, STL 1
W: Bannister (2-2)
L: Falcone (2-5)
S: Forsch (2)
MVP: Bannister

Young Floyd Bannister has a nice outing, striking out six in eight innings, while Ken Forsch shuts the door in the ninth. Two Houston triples, from Terry Puhl and Jimmy Sexton, help keep Astros on the basepaths all day against lefty Pete Falcome.

Game 3: HOU 2, STL 0
W: Dixon (2-1)
L: Vuckovich (2-2)
MVP: Dixon

Newly converted starters Pete Vuckovich and Tom Dixon battle, and both aree effective. An early 1-0 lead from the Astros holds up and is padded by an eighth inning throwing error by the Cards' Ted Simmons on a stolen base attempt by Sexton, allowing him to scamper home with the insurance run. Dixon is especially sharp again, only allowing four hits in a  CG shutout and lowering his ERA to 1.82.

Game 4: STL 6, HOU 5 (10 innings)
W: Littell (3-5)
L: Forsch (0-2)
MVP: Martinez

A back-and-forth game is eventually decided by a key Astros error from Enos Cabell in the 10th, one of five on the day. The Cardinals' Silvio Martinez only pitches five, but the Dominican helps his own cause with a two-run double and a single to raise his average to .400. Houston's Terry Puhl continues to scorch, going three-for-five, making up for a hitting slump by other key Astros (Jose Cruz, Bob Watson, Enos Cabell).  The 5-5 game is decided in the 10th when Simmons scores from second on a throw to first from Cabell that sails into the first-base stands.

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