The Houston Astros Are One Game Away from First Place

Richard ZowieCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  National League All-Star Miguel Tejada of the Houston Astros bats during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

If you're Roy Oswalt, frustration's the word.

Last night, he pitched seven innings, gave up seven hits and three runs while walking only one and striking out four. With a little help from his friends, that would be good enough for a win.

Nope.

Roy O, whose season ERA is 3.66, received a no-decision as the Houston Astros rallied for four runs in the latter innings, including two in the ninth, to edge out the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3.

The two ninth-inning runs came from Miguel Tejada's bat with two outs.

By virtue of the sweep, Houston is now 49-46 and only one game behind the Cardinals in the N.L. Central race.

I honestly can't remember the last time Houston swept St. Louis.

The win must've been frustrating for both teams. Houston was unable to solve Red Birds starter Chris Carpenter, who scattered eight hits over eight innings and yielded two runs, walked two and struck out five for a 2.26 ERA. He'd be 9-3 if he'd won.

Still, my temperature is 98.6. My reason for not having Astros fever? They're on a streak and playing well.

But let's face it—this past month, with the exception of the Dodgers, Giants, and Cardinals, Houston hasn't played a lot of great teams.

I mean, you're supposed to defeat bottom dwellers like the Pittsburgh Pirates (who are playing as if they're wearing those screaming-yellow uniforms from the 1970s), the Washington Nationals (who could probably use President Barack Obama's arm in the starting rotation), and the San Diego Padres (who are playing as if they've taken a vow of losing).

Tonight, the Astros take on a team I love to hate—the New York Mets. The Metropolitans at 44-50, and 10 games out of first in the N.L. East.

Expect a tough game, though.