Matt Morris has pitched two straight shutouts.
Morris is the first Cardinals pitcher with consecutive shutouts since Bob Tewksbury in August 1990.
In Saturday’s win over the Pirates, he allowed 11 base runners but benefited from inning-ending double plays in each of the first three innings.
“The defense came up huge,” Morris said. “Even when I fell behind in some counts, I felt confident I could get out of it. I made some pitches when I needed them.”
The Cardinals will look for another strong effort from Morris as they try to win their second straight series.
After the teams split the first two games, the Cardinals won 3-1 on Wednesday. Jason Simontacchi pitched a six-hitter for the first complete game of his career, but the Cardinals were also forced to endure the loss of Jim Edmonds.
Edmonds bruised ribs on his right side making a lunging catch of Brad Ausmus’ sinking liner to end the second inning. He will not play on Thursday, and a team spokesman said the injury would be re-evaluated this weekend.
Lance Berkman hit his eighth homer—his second in three games—to give the Astros their only run. He has six homers and 24 RBIs in May.
STANDINGS: Astros - 3rd place, 2 1/2 GB, NL Central. Cardinals - 2nd place, 1 1/2 GB, NL Central.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Tim Redding (3-4, 3.54 ERA). Redding is winless in his past four starts, going 0-2 with a 3.80 ERA. On Saturday, he gave up three runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The 25-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA in two career games against the Cardinals.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Morris (6-3, 2.26 ERA). In 18 career games against the Astros, Morris is 6-5 with a 3.70 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Astros - Jeff Kent, .333 avg. and 37 RBIs; Jeff Bagwell, 11 HRs; Craig Biggio, 34 runs; Adam Everett, 5 SBs. Cardinals - Albert Pujols, .347 avg., 14 HRs and 45 runs; Rolen, 45 RBIs; Edgar Renteria, 6 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 3-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Astros - 2B Kent bruised his left hip making a sprawling catch on Tuesday and was out of the lineup Wednesday. He is day-to-day. … LF Berkman is batting .417 (15-for-36) with two homers in his career against RHP Morris. … RHP Brian Moehler, on the disabled list since April 17, will undergo season-ending reconstructive elbow surgery on Thursday. Cardinals - 3B Rolen is 2-for-9 (.222) in his career against RHP Redding. … The Cardinals have gone without a homer the last two games after connecting in 12 straight. … 2B Fernando Vina, on the disabled list with a torn hamstring, went to his home in Sacramento, Calif., to get a second opinion on the injury. He’ll likely undergo surgery, which would sideline him about six weeks.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Astros - 11-14 on the road; Cardinals - 16-8 at home.
INJURIES: Astros - LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Moehler (flexor), 15-day DL; RHP Roy Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL. Cardinals - C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; INF Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Isringhausen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (pelvis), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL; C Joe Girardi (back), 60-day DL.