Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cards and Astros race to the very end

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

ST. LOUIS – The signs are there for a Cardinals clincher: a magic number sliced to one and the smell of intrigue in the air.

Indicators became more obvious during Saturday’s eighth inning when pinch-hitter Scott Spiezio turned around a 2-0 deficit with a two-out, bases-loaded triple against Milwaukee Brewers closer Francisco Cordero. Followed by a rookie’s save, Spiezio’s rescue held for a 3-2 Cards win before 44,294 at Busch Stadium, a static 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Houston Astros and the possibility Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter could be pulled from today’s series finale.

The Cardinals have as many as three days to win one more game and to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. After the Astros disposed of the Atlanta Braves Saturday night, how the Cardinals get there remains a complicated riddle.

Either a Cardinals win or Astros loss today ends it. Should neither occur, the Cardinals would clinch by beating the San Francisco Giants on Monday in a make-up of their postponed Sept. 17 game. A loss Monday would force the Cardinals to travel to Houston for a one-game playoff Tuesday.

Astros 5, Braves 4: At Atlanta, pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro’s single drove in the tiebreaking run as the Houston Astros scored three times in the ninth inning and held on to beat the Atlanta Braves and preserve their playoff hopes.

Andy Pettitte, moved up one day in the rotation, allowed only four hits in seven innings. He left with a 2-1 lead, but Adam LaRoche hit reliever Trever Miller’s first pitch in the eighth inning for a game-tying home run to right field.

Houston had to beat Atlanta to avoid being eliminated from the N.L. Central Division race.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.