Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Wandy Rodriguez combined with three other pitchers in a three-hit shutout as the Houston Astros blanked the reeling St. Louis Cardinals, 3-0, in the second of three games.
Rodriguez (11-12) gave up two hits and two walks with five strikeouts over seven innings for the Astros, who also blanked the Cardinals by a 3-0 score in the opener on Monday and have won eight of their last 10. Hunter Pence went 2- for-4 with two RBI and a run scored while Chris Johnson drove in the other run.
Chris Carpenter (14-5) was tagged for three runs -- two earned -- and six hits with two walks and three strikeouts over seven innings for the Cardinals, who have dropped four straight and seven of their last eight.
St. Louis now sits seven games back of Cincinnati for first place in the NL Central as the Reds beat Milwaukee on Tuesday.
St. Louis put runners on first and second with one out in the third, but Colby Rasmus struck out and Albert Pujols flied out to end the inning.
With no score in the fourth, the Astros surged ahead. Michael Bourn reached base to start the inning on a Skip Schumaker error. Angel Sanchez followed with a single and Pence drilled a triple to center to score both runners. Johnson's single later in the frame made it a 3-0 game.
In the seventh, Yadier Molina reached base to start the inning on a Johnson error, but Pedro Feliz struck out, Schumaker hit into a fielder's choice and Brendan Ryan grounded out to end the inning.
With Tim Byrdak on the mound to start the eighth, Aaron Miles drew a leadoff walk. But Wilton Lopez took the mound and set down the next three batters.
Matt Holliday led off with a double off of Brandon Lyon in the ninth and a walk to Schumaker with two outs brought the tying run to the plate, but Lyon struck out Randy Winn to pick up his 10th save of the season.
Molina, who went 0-for-4, had an eight-game hitting streak snapped...Houston has taken nine of 14 games against St. Louis this season...Rodriguez has won his past two starts. He is now 5-11 in 19 games against St. Louis...Carpenter fell to 7-5 in 17 starts against Houston...St. Louis went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight men on base.