The lowly Houston Astros earned a split of their four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, winning 5-3 on the strength of Carlos Lee’s homer into the visitors’ bullpen.
Lee’s solo shot capped the scoring in the sixth inning as the Astros, the worst team in baseball, dealt a blow to the Cardinals. St. Louis fell 1 1/2 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the National League Central lead.
Wandy Rodriguez (7-7) went seven innings for the win, allowing just one earned run while striking out six.
Astros rookie Jose Altuve failed to get a hit for the first time in his brief career, ending his hitting streak at seven. He’s still batting .367 after going 0-for-4 with a sacrifice fly.
Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia (10-5) was touched for four earned runs – half as many as he’d allowed at Busch Stadium all season.
St. Louis right fielder Lance Berkman, who leads the National League with 27 homers, missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury but is expected back for Friday’s series opener against the Chicago Cubs.
Two Cardinals had to leave Thursday’s games with injuries: backup catcher Gerald Laird (sprained finger) and utility infielder Nick Punto (strained oblique).