Astros beat Cardinals in 10th; NL wild card chase still close

The Houston Astros played spoiler Monday, 4 win in 10 innings.

The Cardinals trailed the wild card leading Braves by one game coming into the season-ending three-game series. Atlanta lost to Philadelphia earlier in the night to open the door, but Brian Bogusevic slugged a pinch-hit double leading off the home 10th, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored the game- winner when Octavio Dotel (3-3) couldn't field Angel Sanchez's squeeze bunt cleanly.

"It's a fun play to be on the bases," Bourgeois said of the bunt. "It wasn't a suicide [squeeze] so I had to make a read."

Matt Downs hit a two-run homer for Houston, which had lost four of six coming in and was facing a team on a scorching 14-4 run.

The Cardinals only got four innings out of starter Jaime Garcia and will turn to Jake Westbrook in Tuesday's penultimate regular-season meeting.

St. Louis trailed by 10 1/2 games in the wild-card hunt this time last month, and continued its relentless play on Monday, only to fall short.

Albert Pujols, who struck out to leave the bases loaded in the fifth, started a tying rally in the eighth with a leadoff single. Fernando Rodriguez was pulled after walking Matt Holliday, and after a double steal, Lance Berkman greeted Wesley Wright with a two-run double off the left-field wall.

Enerio Del Rosario got out of the inning without further damage, keeping it 4-4. Mark Melancon (8-4) followed with two scoreless innings to earn the win.

"I felt like we were going to win," Berkman said. "We're not daunted by a loss tonight. ... All it takes is for us to win one and [the Braves] lose one."

With runners on second and third and two outs in the third, Holliday hit a sharp single to left that plated David Freese, though Pujols was easily thrown out at the plate by J.D. Martinez.

The Astros answered with two runs in their half, as Clint Barmes raced home on Wandy Rodriguez's sacrifice bunt and J.R. Towles scored on Jason Bourgeois' double to left field.

An inning later, Downs sent Garcia's 1-0 offering deep into left-field bleachers for a 4-1 cushion. Carlos Lee preceded the blast with a walk.

The Cardinals were poised for a big fifth by putting their first three hitters on base for the heart of their order, but they only managed one run on Freese's double-play grounder.

Game Notes

Martinez and Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal each left the game due to an injured leg...Rodriguez was charged with two runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings...Garcia gave up four hits and as many runs in his short start.