ST. LOUIS(AP) One big swing from
, hardly a long-ball threat, eased the
' frustrations after getting worked over by St. Louis Cardinals pitchers.
Keppinger hit a tiebreaking homer with two out in the ninth inning and Houston rallied to beat the Cardinals 4-3 on Thursday,
avoiding a three-game sweep.
Keppinger's shot to left on a 2-2 pitch from
(4-3) was his fourth of the season and first since June 19. He has only 17 homers in 1,116 career at-bats, so he was running
when the drive barely cleared the wall.
''It was kind of nice to see the outcome,'' Keppinger said. ''You ever look up at the scoreboard and see my totals?''
(2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the Astros, who scored all four runs with two outs and won for only the fifth time
in their last 19 road games. They avoided a second three-game sweep in St. Louis this season by taking the final game of a
series that featured only 13 runs in three one-run contests.
The Astros rallied a day after
complained of a ''dead'' team atmosphere. The Cardinals won the first two games 1-0 and 3-2.
''This was real big,'' Keppinger said. ''You don't give up just because you're 10 games or 11 games back. You know, you play
it all the way out to the end.''
homered for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, who lost for only the fourth time in 19 games. St. Louis, which had won four
straight overall, went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and missed chances to score in each of the last three innings.
''We all want to come in here and high five and play music and have fun,''
said. ''But we can't do that.''
The Astros tied it on
's RBI double off McClellan in the eighth, spoiling
's bid for his 15th win. Keppinger's first homer in 116 at-bats barely cleared the left-field wall. Holliday made a try for
it but the ball appeared to sneak under his outstretched glove.
''It was close,'' Holliday said. ''I felt I had a chance at it and timed it pretty well. Those are hit or miss plays.''
's two-run single off
in the sixth, only his third hit in 17 at-bats against the right-hander, put the Cardinals ahead 3-2. Holliday's 18th homer
came in the second and was his seventh in 31 games with St. Louis.
Rescued by Erstad's hit, Moehler remained 5-0 against the Cardinals over 10 starts. He's one of only five pitchers and the
only active one with 60 or more innings and no losses against St. Louis.
''We didn't roll over,'' Moehler said. ''We battled.''
Kaz Matsui and
each drove in a run in the second for the Astros. Matsui doubled in
before Carpenter set up Bourn's RBI single with consecutive walks to eighth-place hitter
Carpenter finished the third with strikeouts of
, the third- and fourth-toughest batters to fan in the NL, and the Astros had two hits in his final four innings. He allowed
five hits total before leaving after the sixth.
Carpenter missed a chance to join teammate
and the Yankees' CC Sabathia as the majors' only 15-game winners, although he still leads the majors with a 2.20 ERA. Carpenter,
9-0 in his last 10 starts, said he probably was too pumped up for this start.
''I was definitely excited, for some reason,'' he said. ''I was going hard. I definitely could have slowed down a little bit.''
Moehler allowed three runs and six hits in six innings for Houston.
NOTES: Astros INF
, scratched from Wednesday's lineup due to a shoulder spasm, returned to Houston to be examined. ...
hasn't had an at-bat since Aug. 20. He was announced as a pinch hitter in the seventh then replaced by
after the Astros changed relievers. ... The Cardinals were 4 for 27 with runners in scoring position in the series. ... Bourn
has reached base in 20 consecutive games. ...
drew his major league-leading 37th intentional walk in the sixth two at-bats before Ludwick's two-run single.