Series: Game 4 of 4

Series tied 2-2 (as of 9/15)

Game 1: Thursday, September 12
St. Louis 3Final
Houston 6
Game 2: Friday, September 13
St. Louis 3Final
in 10
Houston 2
Game 3: Saturday, September 14
St. Louis 2Final
Houston 1
Game 4: Sunday, September 15
St. Louis 0Final
Houston 8

Cardinals 0

(86-63, 42-36 away)

Astros 8

(80-70, 45-33 home)

    2:35 PM ET, September 15, 2002

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 000000000 0 - -
    HOU 10310003 - 8 - -

    W: W. Miller (14-3)

    L: M. Morris (16-8)

    Houston's Miller throws first career shutout

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Wade Miller got the first shutout of his career and extended his winning streak to an NL-best 11 straight decisions.

    It's going to take a lot more for the Houston Astros to win the NL Central.

    Wade Miller

    Wade Miller allowed just three hits and struck out nine to extend his streak.

    Miller (14-3) pitched a three-hitter, and Lance Berkman drove in four runs as Houston beat Matt Morris and the St. Louis Cardinals 8-0 on Sunday.

    The victory cut St. Louis' lead in the NL Central to 6½ games and gave the Astros a split in the four-game series.

    "We obviously need a little miracle right here for it to happen,'' Miller said. "Things aren't like, St. Louis is going out there and lose the rest of their games. They're a good team and they'll win some games. Hopefully, we can win a lot and they can lose a lot.''

    Miller's 11-game winning streak, which includes three no-decisions, is the longest in the NL this season. He hasn't lost since June 26 against Arizona. It was Miller's fourth complete game.

    The right-hander took charge early, retiring his first 11 batters before Jim Edmonds' two-out triple in the fourth. He struck out nine and didn't walk a batter.

    Scott Rolen and Kerry Robinson got the other hits for St. Louis.

    "It's the best stuff I've had all year and the best stuff for my whole career probably,'' Miller said. "I made a couple of mistakes today, one to Edmonds, but I was able to keep the ball down and keep it on the corners.''

    Jeff Bagwell isn't expecting miracles, just luck.

    "I wouldn't say miracle,'' Bagwell said. "Miracle is a pretty strong word, but we're going to have to be very lucky. In reality it's not over, but we're looking for a ton of help.''

    Berkman went 4-for-5 with a solo homer in the fourth inning, his 41st of the season. Berkman also had a two-run single in the eighth inning and an RBI double in the first. He leads the NL with 123 RBI.

    "He did just about everything but take tickets today,'' Astros manager Jimy Williams said. "He did an awful lot of things out there. Driving in runs, hit a home run, threw out a guy at the plate. He really had a stellar day.''

    Berkman preserved the 5-0 lead in the sixth inning when he caught Eli Marrero's fly and threw out Robinson at home with catcher Brad Ausmus blocking the plate.

    Berkman made a diving catch in right field in the seventh on a flyball by Albert Pujols.

    "A split in this series is not good,'' Berkman said. "The Cardinals go to Colorado now and we have to hope for some help.''

    Brian Hunter also drove in a run in the eighth.

    Morris (16-8) couldn't match Miller's early proficiency. Craig Biggio singled in the first and scored from there on Berkman's double over right fielder Marrero's head for a 1-0 lead.

    "I just didn't pitch well,'' Morris said. "We could have pulled away. I'm upset. I just didn't make pitches. I wasn't sharp today and that's it.''

    Berkman singled and Bagwell walked to start the third, and Daryle Ward's double to the left-field corner scored both runners. Ward took third on left fielder Pujols' fielding error.

    Mark Loretta hit an RBI double to left field for a 4-0 lead.

    After yielding Berkman's homer and walking Bagwell in the fourth, Morris was replaced by Gabe Molina. Morris pitched 3 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. He gave up five runs and nine hits.

    "We had three really tight games,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "Today, it was all Wade Miller. If I had my cap on, I would tip it to him.''

    Game notes

    The Cardinals lead the season series 11-4, including a 6-3 record at Houston. The teams play again next weekend in St. Louis. ... Pujols has a nine-game hitting streak. ... Loretta is hitting .404 since joining the Astros on Aug. 31 in a trade with Milwaukee.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press