Oswalt pitches Astros to win

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “Well, I was hardly the hero tonight; Roy (Oswalt) was great; seven innings pitched and one run; he bailed us out quite a few times,” Burke said. “Luckily, I was able to get a couple knocks.” Lidge came on for a two-inning save, closing out the six-hitter with three strikeouts. Oswalt allowed only five hits, struck out six and didn’t let a runner past second base except for Albert Pujols, who led off the sixth with a 438-foot home run that cleared the Houston bullpen. Otherwise, Oswalt made every big pitch he needed, improving his career postseason record to 3-0. The Cardinals went 0 for 6 against the right-hander with runners in scoring position. Oswalt twice faced Jim Edmonds with two runners on and came out on top both times against the dangerous left-handed hitter. Houston scrounged for a couple of runs off Mark Mulder one scoring on a passed ball, the other on Craig Biggio’s groundout. The Astros added two more in the eighth off reliever Julian Tavares. Division series hero Chris Burke came through again, scoring two runs and driving in another with a two-out single in the eighth ending Houston’s 0-for-14 drought with runners in scoring position. In the fifth, Edmonds took a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch. Two innings later, the crowd of 52,358 nearly all of them adorned in red was in an uproar after the Cardinals put runners at first and second with only one out. But Oswalt retired David Eckstein with a fly ball to center, then got Edmonds on a grounder to first the last of the starter’s 108 pitches. Oswalt covered on the play, pumping his fist after he took the flip from Lance Berkman. The Central Division rivals are meeting in the NLCS for the second year in a row, and their first eight games all went to the home team. The 2004 series went the distance, with St. Louis advancing to the World Series by winning four games at Busch Stadium. The streak continued with the Cardinals winning 5-3 in Game 1 Wednesday. Now, St. Louis has to win at least one game in Texas something it couldn’t do last year to bring the series back to soon-to-be demolished Busch. The next three games are in Houston, beginning with Saturday’s contest matching Roger Clemens of the Astros against St. Louis’ Matt Morris. “We’re definitely pleased to take one game here and take the momentum,” Burke said. “We’re excited to get home to our fans and that place will be rocking.” Burke’s run-scoring single off Tavares gave the Astros a 3-1 lead, and the runner came all the way around to score when Adam Everett tripled off the glove of left-fielder Reggie Sanders. Sanders, the Cardinals’ hottest postseason hitter with 12 RBI, fell awkwardly on the warning track and left the game. He sustained a sprained lower back. Houston started quickly against Mulder, beginning the game with singles by Biggio and Willy Taveras. But Berkman struck out and Morgan Ensberg hit into a comebacker to Mulder, who started an inning-ending double play. St. Louis led the majors with 196 double plays during the regular season, and this was their ninth in five postseason games. Mulder pitched good enough to win, giving up eight hits and one earned run in seven inning. While it wasn’t as controversial as the call that helped Chicago win Game 2 of the ALCS, home plate umpire Greg Gibson got one wrong in the second. He ruled St. Louis’ Grudzielanek grounded out on a dribbler to the mound, but television replays clearly showed the ball went off the hitter’s foot and should have been called a foul ball. Grudzielanek and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa briefly argued the call, but Gibson stood by it and didn’t ask for help from any of the umpires in the field who might have had a better view. NLCS NOTES: Andy Pettitte’s knee is getting better, and the Astros anticipate he should be ready for his next start. Pettitte was running the bases during batting practice before his Game 1 start and took a line drive off the knee. It swelled significantly. Pettitte and Cardinals Game 1 starter Chris Carpenter are scheduled for a rematch in Game 5 Monday in Houston. … Cardinals right fielder Larry Walker skipped outdoor batting practice before Game 2, spending extra time on the training table to have a sore right knee and assorted bumps and bruises treated. Of greater concern now is left fielder Reggie Sanders, who fell hard chasing Adam Everett’s triple in the eighth. Sanders hurt his back, and La Russa described the injury as a “train wreck.” He was uncertain if Sanders would be available for Game 3 Saturday. NLCS notes contributed by Jim Salter of AP., 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img ST. LOUIS — Yes, it is possible to win on the road in the NL championship series. Roy Oswalt showed the way for Houston, silencing the St. Louis Cardinals and all their red-clad fans. Oswalt pitched seven stellar innings, closer Brad Lidge finished up and the Astros defeated the Cardinals 4-1 Thursday night, evening the best-of-7 series at one game apiece. last_img read more