Astros 3, Cardinals 0

The St. Louis Cardinals tried to be optimistic Tuesday night

after a second straight shutout left them with an 11-15 record in

August and seven games behind first-place Cincinnati in the NL

Central.

”It’s a good thing tomorrow starts a new month,” Jon Jay said.

”It’s September, so hopefully we can get on a roll. We just hope

that this was just one bad month. Hopefully we can all stay

positive and keep looking at the big picture. Tomorrow is a fresh

start.”

Wandy Rodriguez pitched seven innings and three relievers

completed the three-hitter as the Astros again beat the slumping

Cardinals 3-0.

Hunter Pence drove in two runs in Houston’s three-run fourth

inning.

The Cardinals were also shut out Monday when J.A. Happ threw a

two-hitter in a 3-0 win. They have dropped four straight and seven

of eight.

”The answer is, we’re trying,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa

said. ”The guys are working on different things, the coaches are

working on different things. It’s not for lack of trying or lack of

adjusting. It’s not lack of concentration, we’re just not making it

work.”

Tim Byrdak replaced Rodriguez (11-12) for the eighth, but was

chased when he walked his first batter. Wilton Lopez finished the

inning.

Brandon Lyon gave up a double to Matt Holliday in the ninth and

walked Skip Schumaker with two outs, but pinch-hitter Randy Winn

struck out to end the game as Lyon earned his 10th save.

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter (14-5) yielded six hits and

three runs with two walks in seven innings.

”Right now it just seems like it’s everything,” Carpenter

said. ”Right now, we pitch well and we’re not hitting. We don’t

pitch well, we score a bunch of runs. It just seems that it is a

little bit of everything, and it seems like we just can’t do

anything right.”

Pence’s two-run triple that landed just behind Colby Rasmus in

center field made it 2-0 in the fourth. Michael Bourn reached to

start the inning on an error by Schumaker when he couldn’t handle a

hard-hit grounder to second. Angel Sanchez followed with a single

to set up Pence’s hit.

”With a guy like Carpenter on the mound you don’t get too many

opportunities to have first and second, nobody out,” Pence said.

”So really I was just trying to get in there and … get Bourn to

third. Fortunately I was able to find a hole.”

Chris Johnson’s single to right field later in the inning scored

Pence and made it 3-0.

Rodriguez had some trouble in the first inning, walking Albert

Pujols with two outs before he advanced to second on a wild pitch.

The left-hander settled down to retire 10 of the next 11

batters.

Rodriguez walked ex-Astro Pedro Feliz with two outs in the

fourth, but the Cardinals didn’t get another baserunner until

Yadier Molina reached on an error by Johnson at third base to start

the seventh. Rodriguez struck out Feliz before Schumaker and

Brendan Ryan grounded into forceouts to end the inning.

Houston’s starters have a 2.16 ERA in the last 22 games and

haven’t allowed a run in the last 18 2-3 innings.

”It’s becoming a nice habit to come in and say that our

pitching did an outstanding job,” manager Brad Mills said. ”Wandy

did well tonight. He’s been throwing the ball extremely well for

the last 2 1/2, three months, mixing his pitches extremely well and

getting ahead of the hitters. He was almost textbook.”

Rodriguez struck out five for his 62nd career win to move past

Jim Deshaies and into third place in franchise history for wins by

a left-handed pitcher.

Jason Castro and Pence were both tagged out at second trying to

stretch singles into doubles.

NOTES: Cardinals RHP Jeff Suppan (groin) will come off the

disabled list Wednesday and is scheduled to start. It will be his

first appearance since July 31. … The Cardinals expect LHP Dennys

Reyes (left elbow) to come off the DL on Wednesday. … The Astros

will recall OF-INF Brian Bogusevic, INF Matt Downs and LHP Wesley

Wright from Triple-A Round Rock and RHP Henry Villar from Double-A

Corpus to join the team on Wednesday. They will also purchase the

contract of C Brian Esposito from Round Rock. … Houston reliever

Matt Lindstrom (back strain) pitched a scoreless inning in his

first rehabilitation outing for Corpus Christi. … INF Jeff

Keppinger (toe) has returned to Houston after his rehab assignment

and is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday.