Houston Astros Draw a Win from the Cards

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Houston Astros Draw a Win from the Cards

Miguel Tejada gives the Houston fans a good impression by hitting a walk-off two-run home run in the ninth inning to give the Astros a 5-3 win over the Cardinals.

Tejada had both hands in the air when he ran the bases after hitting his second home run of the season. The Astros mobbed Tejada when he got to home plate.

There has been concern about whether Tejada has lost a step, but Houston’s manager Cecil Cooper disagrees.

"I think he's way better than the guy we thought we were getting," Astros' manager Cecil Cooper said. "They said he'd lost a step. He hasn't lost a step."

The Astros, at first, did not look like they were going to need to bat in the bottom of the ninth with a 3-0 lead and closer Jose Valverde pitching.

Aaron Miles led off with a single to center, which was followed by Cesar Izturis being walked.

Valverde got Rick Ankiel to strike out and Albert Pujols to fly out to left. Troy Glaus started a two-out rally with a single to left scoring Miles, and Izturis advanced to second.

Ryan Ludwick got a double just inside fair territory in right, which scored Miles and Izturis, and resulted in a blown save for Valverde.

The Astros’ closer finished the inning by intentionally walking Chris Duncan and got Yadier Molina to ground into a fielder’s choice with Duncan out on a throw from Tejada to Mark Loretta.

Valverde said he was disappointed with his performance.

"I just threw some mistakes tonight," Valverde said. "I was throwing too hard. But that's all right, I'll be back tomorrow and I'll forget this."

Despite the blown save, Valverde (2-0) was credited with his second win of the season. Kyle McClellan (0-1) was credited with the loss after failing to get an out in the ninth.

The game was a pitchers’ duel and neither Wandy Rodriguez nor Todd Wellemeyer allowed a run until the seventh inning. Rodriguez pitched a perfect seventh and retired the last 10 batters he faced.

For Wellemeyer, the seventh was a different story.

Lance Berkman ended the scoring drought sending a 2-0 pitch into center field to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. Carlos Lee followed with a home run of his own to left field, putting the Astros ahead, 2-0.

Wellemeyer finished the seventh by striking out Tejada and getting Loretta to ground into a double play after Geoff Blum’s infield single.

Rodriguez pitched seven-and-two thirds innings, allowed three hits, struck out six, and lowered his ERA from 7.20 to 2.92.

With Valverde’s blown save, Rodriguez ended with a no-decision.

Cooper said he was pleased with Rodriguez’s performance despite not earning the win.

"I'm a little disappointed for Wandy's sake because he had a great outing," Cooper said. "It's probably the best I've seen him. He was attacking the hitters with his fastball."

Wellemeyer also had a strong outing despite dealing with a nose bleed for almost four innings. Wellemeyer pitched seven innings, allowed five hits, two runs, walked one, and struck out seven.

St. Louis’ manager Tony La Russa has been impressed with Wellemeyer’s two starts, in which he has only a 2.25 ERA.

"He's given us two outstanding starts," La Russa said.

The Astros (3-5) face the Cardinals (5-2) again Tuesday night at 7:05 PM CST.

Shawn Chacon (0-0) will start for the Astros against the Cardinals’ Brad Thompson (1-0).

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