Final in 10

Series: Game 3 of 4

St. Louis leads 2-1 (as of 7/8)

Game 1: Thursday, July 6
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Houston4
Game 2: Friday, July 7
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Houston2
Game 3: Saturday, July 8
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in 10
Houston6
Game 4: Sunday, July 9
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in 12
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Cardinals 7

(47-39, 21-22 away)

Astros 6

(43-45, 28-21 home)

4:05 PM ET, July 8, 2006

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

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HOU 1000302000 6 8 1

W: J. Isringhausen (3-4)

L: R. Oswalt (6-6)

Albert's great again: Pujols homer lifts Cardinals in 10

HOUSTON (AP) -- Despite trailing by two with two outs in the ninth inning, Albert Pujols wasn't ready to give up.

Elias Says

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Pujols
Top of the ninth, two outs, none on, a two-run lead and Brad Lidge on the mound: Things looked pretty good for the Astros against the Cardinals on Saturday. But St. Louis rallied for two in the ninth and Albert Pujols homered off Roy Oswalt in the 10th to annex a 7-6 win.

It was the first game in the majors this season that a team has won after trailing by two or more runs in the ninth inning with two outs and none on.

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Scott Spiezio hit a solo homer off Brad Lidge to pull within a run. Chris Duncan singled and David Eckstein walked before Aaron Miles' RBI single tied the score. Pujols then opened the 10th inning with a solo home run off Roy Oswalt, lifting the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-6 win over the Houston Astros Saturday.

"I was just thinking that the game's not over until you get 27 outs and I think a lot of things can happen in this game," Pujols said. "You saw it right there. We just tied the game against one of the best closers in the major leagues and that's why you can't take these games for granted."

Oswalt (6-6), in his first relief appearance since Aug. 24, 2004, gave up the home run to right field on his second pitch. It was Pujols' 29th homer of the season and gave the Cardinals consecutive victories for the first time since winning three straight June 16-18.

"It was a great win," Pujols said. "Hopefully this is the win we were looking for and we can turn some things around here."

Lidge will now have to deal with another failure against the Cardinals after being dogged by questions about his mind-set since Pujols' three-run homer that gave St. Louis a 5-4 win in Game 5 of the 2005 NL championship series.

"I feel bad about putting Roy into that situation," Lidge said. "Obviously he doesn't come into the game at all if I don't blow a save. This was my fault absolutely. I'm pretty disappointed with myself."

National League saves leader Jason Isringhausen (3-4) pitched a perfect ninth and 10th for the win.

"It looked like we were down and out," Spiezio said. "But we had just talked about, keep going until that last out's made -- until the last strike. Don't try to be a hero, just try to get on get something started."

The score was tied at 4 when Lance Berkman hit a two-run single in the seventh inning. Berkman, the NL RBI leader with 79, hit the ball just over the head of Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright with the bases loaded in the seventh to score Willy Taveras and Biggio. He also had a run-scoring single in the first.

Astros starter Roger Clemens, vying for his 343rd career win, received a no-decision after leaving with the score tied at 4 through six innings. The seven-time Cy Young winner allowed two earned runs and six hits. He struck out three and walked one in his fourth start of the season.

"I was just constantly making adjustments while I was out there," Clemens said. "I was just trying to do as much as I can. I'll have some time during the break to make more adjustments, continue to work hard and get stronger each time out."

In the first, Clemens allowed two consecutive singles before John Rodriguez scored after first baseman Mike Lamb couldn't scoop up a grounder by Scott Rolen.

The Cardinals made it 2-0 when Pujols scored on a force out.

The Astros pulled to 2-1 with Berkman's RBI single in the bottom of the first, but rookie starter Anthony Reyes got out of the inning with a double play.

Clemens threw just 10 pitches in the second inning thanks to Reyes bunting into a double play. He retired three straight batters in the third before things went a bit downhill in the fourth.

Jim Edmonds hit an RBI double, that landed just short of the wall in center field, before scoring on a single by Gary Bennett to extend the Cardinals' lead to 4-1.

Reyes faced the minimum in the second, third and fourth innings, but gave up a double to Chris Burke to lead off the fifth. He walked Brad Ausmus with one out before a sacrifice by Clemens sent Burke to third.

Biggio then hit a full-count three-run shot to left field to tie the game at 4. Burke looked back to watch it fly into the stands before lifting his fist in jubilation and slowly trotting home.

The home run was Biggio's 2,884th career hit, moving him into a tie with Zack Wheat for 34th on the all-time list.

Reyes allowed five hits and four runs with four strikeouts and three walks in five innings.

An obviously angry Berkman said he was frustrated at the loss.

"There's no excuse for losing that game today," he said. "There was an absolute poor job on our part. If we continue to do that we might as well make vacation plans."

Game notes


Houston leads the majors in double plays turned this season with 107. ... Biggio has 268 career home runs. ... With three strikeouts on Saturday, Clemens increased his career total to 4,517. ... Cardinals C Yadier Molina entered the game in the bottom of the ninth. It was his first appearance since suffering a mild concussion after being hit in the head by a pitch Thursday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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