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Bill Hall's Game Winning Hit Bails Out Fulchino, Lyon

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Bill Hall knocked in Michael Bourn to cap Houston’s two-run ninth-inning rally, as the Astros earned a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a three-game series between the NL Central foes.

Lance Berkman, in his first game at Minute Maid Park as a visitor, doubled in Matt Holliday in the top of the ninth to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead that Mitchell Boggs (0-1) gave away in the bottom half.

Chris Johnson had two hits and two RBI while Hunter Pence went 3-for-5 with a solo homer for the Astros, who have won two of three.

Daniel Descalso doubled twice, tripled and knocked in three runs to pace the Cardinals, who were coming off a weekend series win over Cincinnati.

The Astros spoiled Berkman’s storybook return to Houston, where he spent the first 11 1/2 seasons of his career before getting dealt to the Yankees at last year’s trade deadline.

Brian Bogusevic, recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma earlier in the day to fill in for the injured Jason Michaels, singled to lead off the home ninth and moved to second on a passed ball. Bourn put down a bunt that Boggs bobbled, and the speedster beat out the throw to put runners on the corners.

Yadier Molina failed to handle Boggs’ 50-foot toss to the plate shortly thereafter. The wild pitch went up the first-base line, and Bogusevic scored the tying run without a play at the plate.

Angel Sanchez and Pence each singled to load the bases, and Hall ended the game by grounding one past a drawn-in infield on the left side.

Brandon Lyon (2-1) was credited with the win despite giving up Berkman’s go- ahead double in the ninth.

The Cardinals got their first three runs in the fourth after Sanchez booted David Freese’s routine grounder to keep the inning alive. Molina followed with a single, and Nick Punto’s double knocked in Freese before Descalso tripled off the right-field wall for a 3-0 game.

Pence got one back leading off the bottom half with a mammoth home run off the railroad tracks high above the wall in left field, and the Astros took their first lead in the sixth.

Houston loaded the bases without hitting the ball out of the infield, as Sanchez beat out an infield single, Carlos Lee reached on Freese’s error and Hall worked a one-out walk.

Brett Wallace, who went 3-for-4 at the plate, ended Jaime Garcia’s outing with an RBI single, and Johnson greeted Miguel Batista with a humpback liner to left that scored Lee and Hall.

The Astros squandered a base-loaded chance in the eighth when Hall bounced into a inning-ending double play, and St. Louis tied it in its next turn.

Molina opened the eighth with a base hit, and after moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, came around to score when Descalso lofted a fly ball down the left-field line that just stayed fair.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.