ST. LOUIS (AP) – Paul Goldschmidt extended his homer streak to a career-high five games with a three-run drive in the eighth inning, and the surging St. Louis Cardinals took over first place in the NL Central with a 5-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.
Matt Wieters also connected as St. Louis won for the ninth time in 10 games. Coupled with the Chicago Cubs’ loss at Milwaukee, the Cardinals grabbed sole possession of the division lead for the first time since before play on May 7.
Michael Brantley homered for the AL West-leading Astros, who lost for just the second time in nine games. Yuli Gurriel had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
Brantley’s bases-loaded walk gave Houston a 3-2 lead in the eighth, but St. Louis went ahead to stay in the bottom half. Dexter Fowler started the rally with a leadoff walk and Jose Martinez doubled before Goldschmidt hit his team-high 23rd homer off Ryan Pressly (2-2), barely clearing the outstretched glove of a leaping George Springer in center.
Andrew Miller (4-4) got one out for the win, and Carlos Martinez worked the ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
Wieters tied it at 2 with a solo shot in the seventh.
Houston rookie Jose Urquidy gave up four hits over six innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Brantley got the Astros off to a nice start with a two-run homer off Jack Flaherty in the fourth. It was his 16th homer of the season.
Flaherty gave up three hits over six innings. He struck out nine and walked one, but remained winless since May 14, covering his last 12 starts.
Astros: INF Carlos Correa was activated from the injured list. He has been out since late May with a fractured rib. INF/OF Tony Kemp was designated for assignment.
Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole (11-5, 3.03 ERA) will face Cardinals right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0, 2.82 ERA) in the second game of the three-game series Saturday. Cole leads the majors with 205 strikeouts. He is 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA since June 1. Ponce de Leon is 1-0 and has not allowed an earned in three interleague appearances, all in relief.
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