Astros 5, Cardinals 4

Monday, April 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Shane Reynolds allowed one earned run in 5 1-3 innings as the Houston Astros avoided being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals with a 5-4 victory Sunday.

Lance Berkman, Daryle Ward, Geoff Blum and Adam Everett drove in a run apiece for the Astros, who last were swept by the Cardinals Sept. 2-4, 1996.

St. Louis cut a four-run, fifth-inning deficit to one on Jim Edmonds' two-run homer in the seventh off Nelson Cruz, but settled for taking two of three _ just like last weekend in Houston.

The Cardinals' five-game winning streak came to an end as they finished 5-1 on the homestand.

St. Louis' Eli Marrero was 3-for-3 with two steals and an intentional walk and is batting .567 (17-for-30) with a home run and six RBIs. He had the winning hit Saturday, a bases-loaded liner off the left-field wall in the eighth inning of a 2-1 victory.

Reynolds rebounded from a poor start in his last outing, allowing two runs and six hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Billy Wagner finished for his first save.

Cardinals starter Garrett Stephenson (0-2) left after three innings with lower back spasms, allowing two runs on five hits. His knees buckled as he walked down the steps to the dugout.

Stephenson's wild pitch helped the Astros score in the first on a run-scoring groundout by Lance Berkman.

The Astros, who committed six errors in the first 11 games, had two miscues in the bottom of the first as St. Louis tied it. Reynolds threw wildly to second trying for a double play on J.D. Drew's tapper to the mound and Blum botched Albert Pujols' run-scoring grounder to third.

Houston took the lead in the third on a jarring play at the plate. Brad Ausmus, who had singled to start the inning, knocked the ball loose from Cardinals catcher Mike DiFelice after Edmonds' relay on Ward's sacrifice fly.

Blum had an RBI single and Everett had a run-scoring double in a three-run fifth that put the Astros ahead 5-1. Drew gave Houston another run when he missed completely on a shoetop catch attempt on Blum's single and the ball rolled to the wall.