Series: Game 2 of 3

St. Louis leads 2-0 (as of 6/5)

Game 1: Friday, June 4
St. Louis5
Game 2: Saturday, June 5
St. Louis10
Game 3: Sunday, June 6
St. Louis2

Astros 4

(29-25, 14-12 away)

Cardinals 10

(32-23, 13-14 home)

    7:15 PM ET, June 5, 2004

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 002020000 4 11 0
    STL 02104210 - 10 19 0

    W: J. Marquis (5-4)

    L: T. Redding (3-4)

    Edmunds drives in four runs vs. Astros

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Tony La Russa waited to write Jim Edmonds' name on the lineup card until the star outfielder convinced him he was fit enough to play.

    "It was just a matter of health," La Russa said of his decision to start Edmonds. "If he was sore, I didn't want to send him out there and he gets ouchy for a lot of days."

    Edmonds overcame a sore right ribcage and drove in four runs and threw out a runner at the third, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

    Edmonds almost didn't start after straining his ribcage muscle during batting practice the previous night, but chose to play -- helping the Cardinals win their sixth in a row.

    Edmonds is hitting .322 lifetime against the Astros, and has 12 RBI in 11 games against them this season.

    "I wanted him to practice here before I actually write his name on the card," La Russa said. "I hate scratching guys out and rewriting the card."

    Edmonds said he felt fine and intended to play all along.

    "You have to learn how to deal with things sometimes and I can understand why he was worried," Edmonds said. "I didn't think it was a real big deal. I just had to talk him into playing. I'm fine."

    Albert Pujols went 4-for-5, and the Cardinals had a season-high 19 hits to move nine games over .500 and remain a game behind NL Central-leading Cincinnati.

    "We're not 10 (over .500) and that's the first time you say 'This is good.' Then you go on to 15 and so forth," La Russa said. "Pujols is being the normal Pujols now. He's having great at-bats."

    Lance Berkman drove in four runs on two hits for the Astros, who have lost seven of their last eight against St. Louis.

    La Russa served the second of a two-game suspension for his confrontation with Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon on Thursday. La Russa watched in street clothes from general manager Walt Jocketty's private box.

    La Russa got credit for his 2,041st win, moving him ahead of Walt Alston for sixth place on the career list.

    St. Louis starter Jason Marquis (5-4) struck out seven in five innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. He allowed 10 hits and four runs. Kiko Calero pitched three scoreless innings before Steve Kline finished in the ninth.

    "We couldn't come back against Calero," Houston manager Jimy Williams said. "He was tough."

    The Cardinals chased Tim Redding (3-4) in the fifth inning by sending 10 men up and scoring four runs to take a 7-4 lead.

    Edgar Renteria drew a leadoff walk, Pujols doubled and Scott Rolen walked to load the bases. Mike Gallo came on in relief and Edmonds laced his first pitch to left-center for a bases-clearing double.

    "I'm just trying to figure out how to get out of this slump," said Edmonds, who is hitting .262. "With the bases loaded there, I know he's trying to get strike one. I might have gotten lucky, but I'll take it."

    Gallo retired the next two hitters before intentionally walking rookie Yadier Molina. Roger Cedeno pinch-hit for Marquis and drove in Edmonds with a single. After Tony Womack reached on an infield single to load the bases again, Chad Harville relieved Gallo and got Renteria to line out to Jeff Bagwell at first.

    St. Louis added two runs in the sixth on RBI singles by John Mabry and Molina. It was Molina's first RBI since being called up Thursday. Molina also blocked the plate on a 9-4-2 play to tag out Adam Everett.

    "He reminds me of Albert," La Russa said of Molina. "This guy's been playing 10 years somewhere. He plays like he's 30 years old and has 10 years in the big leagues."

    Womack hit a leadoff homer -- his third hit -- in the seventh off Ricky Stone for a 10-4 lead.

    "The wind was blowing out," Womack quipped. "We're playing good baseball now. We've won this series now and we'll go for the sweep tomorrow."

    St. Louis scored two runs in the second on four hits, including RBI singles by Mabry and Marquis.

    The Astros tied it with two runs in the third on Berkman's two-run single. Craig Biggio and Everett singled and, one out later, Jeff Kent singled to load the bases and extend his career-best hitting streak to 20 games. Berkman followed with his single to center, but Edmonds threw out Kent trying to take third.

    Edmonds' two-out single in the third gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead.

    Houston went ahead 4-3 with two outs in the fifth on Berkman's two-run double.< ^Notes@: Biggio has 533 doubles, one shy of Lou Gehrig for 25th on the career list. ... After Sunday's game, the two Central Division rivals won't play each other again until September.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press