- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Ryan Ludwick homered and drove in two runs, Skip Schumaker had three hits and the St. Louis Cardinals survived another shaky ninth inning to beat the Houston Astros 5-3 on Friday night.

Ludwick finished 2-for-3 and extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games, including the last 11 of 2008.

Chris Duncan and Yadier Molina also drove in runs for the Cardinals, while Joel Pineiro (1-0) allowed two runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings to earn the win.

Kyle McClellan got the final two outs for his second career save in relief of rookie Jason Motte, who struggled again by giving up two hits to three batters to start the ninth.

Carlos Lee went 3-for-4 with a solo home run for Houston. Lance Berkman added an RBI double and Kazuo Matsui a bases-loaded walk to account for the Astros’ runs.

Mike Hampton (0-1), who made his first regular-season appearance as an Astro since he beat Los Angeles 9-4 on Oct. 3, 1999, gave up three runs on four hits and four walks in five innings.

The Cardinals got to Hampton right away, with Schumaker hitting a leadoff infield single. Hampton then retired Khalil Greene and Albert Pujols, but Ludwick walked to keep the inning alive and Duncan hit a run-scoring single to right.

Some erratic pitching cost Hampton two more runs in the third when he hit Greene to start the inning and then walked Pujols. Greene later came home on Ludwick’s RBI double to right that sent Pujols to third, and Molina hit an RBI fielder’s choice back to the pitcher.

Berkman got the Astros on the board in the sixth with an RBI double, but Schumaker got that run back in the bottom of the frame with an RBI double of his own.

Notes:@ Friday marked the third anniversary of the opening of the new Busch Stadium. The Cardinals are 141-106 at the venue. … One visitor who likes the new Busch is Roy Oswalt, who starts Saturday for Houston. He’s 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA in five career starts, his lowest ERA at any ballpark where he has made at least five starts. … Hampton fell to 10-9 against St. Louis in his 23rd career start vs. the Cardinals.

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