Everett's RBI single in the sixth inning snapped a tie and his clutch play with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth sealed the Astros' 3-2 triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals.
In a very tight game throughout, Houston took a 3-2 lead in the sixth.
opened the inning with a single against Cardinals starter
(3-3), took second on a comebacker by
and scored when Everett blooped a single into center field.
"That was nice," Everett said. "I got a pitch out over the middle of the plate and was able to the ball into the outfield. I can't describe the feeling when you get a hit like that. It was electric."
"He certainly was big for us tonight," Astros manager
said. "He's been a big contributor since joining us. He's been consistent defensively and he's swinging a better bat than he has in the past. He's got some big hits for us."
After Houston starter
(2-5) pitched seven solid innings,
tossed a hitless eighth.
worked in and out of trouble in the ninth to notch the save.
Wagner's 11th save in 12 chances was preserved when Everett was able to maintain his concentration on a ground ball by
with the bases loaded. As the grounder skipped through the infield,
stopped in front of Everett and the ball went through the runner's legs. But Everett regrouped, fielded it cleanly and made a strong throw to first to just get Renteria.
"The runner didn't distract me, I saw the ball fine," Everett said. "I didn't pick up (Jeff) Bagwell at first, so I double-clutched it. I was going to first base all the way."
Miller allowed two runs and three hits and struck out five without a walk. He won for just the second time in 10 starts but improved to 6-3 lifetime against the Cardinals.
"He pitched a strong game for us against that lineup," Williams said. "He attacked the strike zone."
Wagner's save was his 192nd, tying him with
for fifth place all-time among lefthanders. He is just seven saves shy of
's team record.
Houston has won 13 of 18 overall and nine of its last 11 games at Minute Maid Park.
"They are by far our biggest rivals," Wagner said. "The last two years, it's been us vs. them. It's always important to jump out and get that first win in the series. You know it's not going to be a blowout game. Tonight it was 3-2, it was a good baseball game."
"These games are big," Miller added. "We get to see where we are vs. our competition in the division. Of course, they are our rival. There's always a rivalry with them, whether it's May or September."
The Cardinals are 5-9 in a stretch of 26 games against Central Division opponents.
"These are always great games against them," St. Louis first baseman
said. "They are always tight. The bottom line is it was a well-pitched game by both sides and we needed one more run."
Stephenson gave up three runs and six hits in six innings. He walked four, struck out four and fell to 0-3 lifetime against the Astros. It was his 100th career appearance.
tossed two perfect innings for St. Louis, striking out four of the six batters he faced.
The Cardinals broke on top, 1-0, in the second when
led off with a triple and scored on
The Astros responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Stephenson got the first two batters, but Ausmus singled and took third on a base hit by Everett. Miller helped himself with a long double that scored both runners.
"It was a fastball and I got decent wood on it," Miller said. "It had a chance to go out, but it wasn't quite high enough. It was nice to get those two runs."
"That was a mental lapse," Stephenson said. "I tried to come in with a fastball, but instead I just threw him a strike. It was a good job on his part. It was my only lapse all night, and he got me."
Houston left two aboard in the third and St. Louis got even in the fourth when Pujols hit his 12th homer.
The Astros had two on with one out in the fifth, but Stephenson got
to bounce into an inning-ending double play.