Astros power past Cards behind Lee’s grand slam

Carlos Lee couldn’t remember how many runs the Houston Astros scored against the St. Louis Cardinals just minutes after Tuesday night’s game.

He figures that’s a good sign.

“(We) came out today and scored 10 runs. 11? 12? I don’t know,” he said. “Lost count. That’s good.”

Actually, Lee’s grand slam was one of three homers that led the Astros to an 11-6 win over St. Louis.

The Astros led 5-1 before Lee’s shot to the Crawford Boxes in left field in the seventh inning. It was his second grand slam of the season and his second straight day with a home run.

“I’m just having opportunities out there to come up with a good hit,” said Lee, who has seven RBIs in the last two games. “I’ve been feeling good. I started feeling real good the whole (month of) July and been hitting the balls hard everywhere. I guess it’s all starting to fall.”

Geoff Blum followed Lee’s home run with his own to right field to push Houston’s lead to 10-1.

Hunter Pence added a two-run homer and Miguel Tejada drove in three runs to help the Astros beat the NL-Central leading Cardinals for the second straight night.

Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez (10-6) allowed four hits and one run in seven innings for his 10th win of the season, his most since going 10-10 in 2005.

“When you see him have the fastball command, you know he has a chance to have a really good game,” Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. “And when he can throw in the curveball, which I think is one of the better curveballs in the league, when he can get that over, he’s almost unhittable.”

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was impressed.

“He is really pitching with a lot of confidence, and he has the numbers to back it up,” La Russa said. “He’s tough.”

Mark DeRosa had solo homers in the second and eighth innings and Ryan Ludwick added a three-run shot in the Cardinals five-run eighth.

DeRosa’s first homer halted Rodriguez’s scoreless streak at 18 innings. It was the first home run as a Cardinal for DeRosa, who was traded from Cleveland in June.

Michael Bourn singled in the third inning before stealing his NL-best 35th base of the season. He pushed Houston’s lead to 3-1 when he scored on a single by Tejada.

Chris Coste, playing in place of injured Astro Lance Berkman, drove in a run in the fourth that made it 4-1. Berkman is expected to sit out until at least Friday with a calf strain.

Kaz Matsui was hit in the knee with a pitch while batting in the fifth inning and the game was stopped for several minutes while trainers and Cooper checked him out. He finished his at-bat and remained in the game until leaving before the eighth with a right knee contusion.

Cooper said he should be OK.

Bourn singled in the fifth and advanced to third on an error by Todd Wellemeyer before scoring on a single by Tejada.

Wellemeyer (7-8) allowed seven hits and five runs in 4 1-3 innings.

“This is going to be a good step,” Wellemeyer said. “This is definitely a step forward as far as how I felt. I didn’t get the results I wanted, but I felt good.”

Wellemeyer has struggled since going 4-2 in May.

“He made a lot of good pitches, but he made too many mistakes,” La Russa said. “He didn’t make enough good pitches and he didn’t get away with any mistakes.”

P.J. Walters pitched two-plus innings and allowed four hits and six runs including the homers to Lee and Blum.


Astros reliever Doug Brocail, on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, pitched a scoreless inning Monday night in a rehabilitation appearance for Triple-A Round Rock. “He came through it great, so it’s a big step in the right direction to get him back here as well,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said. … Astros RHP Chris Sampson, on the DL with muscle spasms, and his wife Heather welcomed their second son, Colt, late Monday night.