Trying to stay in the thick of the wild-card hunt, the Houston Astros will try to beat Jason Marquis and the major league-leading St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
Since reeling off a season-high 12 straight wins to move into postseason contention, the Astros have dropped four of seven, including Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat. Jeff Kent hit a two-run homer for Houston, which fell two games behind San Francisco for the NL wild-card lead.
Marquis has won 11 straight decisions and is the first Cardinals pitcher to win that many in a row since John Tudor accomplished the feat in 1985. The right-hander didn’t receive a decision in the Cardinals’ 7-6 loss at Los Angeles on Friday, giving up five runs and seven hits over six innings. He remained unbeaten in 18 starts dating to May 26.
Wednesday’s victory was the Cardinals’ 11th in their last 12 games at Busch Stadium. It was only their third in eight games overall, but reduced their magic number for clinching the NL Central to 4.
Jim Edmonds hit his 42nd homer, matching his career best set in 2000, for the Cardinals. It was his 11th homer in 17 games.
Scott Rolen was not in the lineup for the fourth straight game after straining his left calf while running out a double during Friday’s loss to the Dodgers. The Cardinals’ cleanup hitter is expected to miss another 7-10 days.