It all fits
The Cardinals have been the Astros’ worst enemy for a very long time. And the past two NLCS have been staged by these two clubs. That, and the fact that Houston was within reach of becoming leaders in the NL Central, made up for interesting baseball and a game of high tension and excitement.
That was precisely how 41,528 people attending Minute Maid Park tonight understood it. They saw all the reasons why the Astros are poised to give Albert Pujols and his gang a run for their money. We saw all the strong points this team has, most especially a bullpen capable of shutting the powerful St. Louis offense down. Chad Qualls, Dan Wheeler and Brad Lidge combined for three innings and no runs allowed, insuring an Astros win over the Cards 4-2.
The defining moment was in the eighth frame, when Lidge got the ball from Phil Garner with men in the corners and two outs, right after Albert Pujols drew an intentional walk. A Scott Rolen line out to third. End of inning. Game in the bag.
Taylor Buchholz was efficient enough, granting just a couple of runs from a homer by Jim Edmonds, and three hits in six frames. Mike Lamb went yard in the first, and the Astros could cash in a couple of fielding miscues from the redbirds; which contrasted with two timely outfield assists by Lance Berkman.
Houston had a coherence not shown by the Cardinals in this game; and that leaves fans with plenty of good things to look for in the three remaining games before the All-Star Break. And hey, it’s not just me saying that.