HOUSTON (AP) - Jaime Garcia pitched well. It's just hard to compare to a guy who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
Garcia (6-2) gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings, but Bud Norris outpitched him and the Houston Astros beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 on Tuesday night to snap a four game winning streak.
The left-hander struck out a season-low one batter and walked two in the loss.
``I kept the ball up,' Garcia said. ``I didn't do a good job of getting ahead. There's not much you can say. I guess that it was one of those days where your stuff is not there, so you have to keep your head in the game and make adjustments a pitch at a time, and I feel like I didn't do a good job of that.'
Garcia gave up two runs in the third and one in the fifth said he didn't feel great.
``It was a feel of the pitches, and I need to get better when I don't have the feeling of my pitches to keep the same mechanics,' he said. ``When I get off the feeling of my pitches, I get off the mechanics of my pitches a little bit. I have to work on that and do a better job of that.'
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said Garcia wasn't sharp and had to use extra pitches because of it.
``He wasn't all over, he just kept missing,' La Russa said. ``He worked out of trouble with second base and no out, so it wasn't like he stunk up the joint.'
It didn't help Garcia that his team was unable to get a hit off of Houston starter Norris (4-4) until there were two outs in the seventh. Norris gave up a solo homer to former Astro Lance Berkman that just got over the fence in right field. It was his 14th home run of the year, which matches his total from last season with Houston and the Yankees.
``I hit it pretty good,' Berkman said. ``It was low, but I thought I got enough of it to get it out.'
Berkman, who is 10 for 20 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in five games at Minute Maid Park this year, had high praise for Norris.
``I've always said this dude has great stuff, great mentality and reminds me a lot of Roger Clemens with his aggressiveness and mound presence,' Berkman said. ``That's about as high of praise as I can give somebody. I think he's very good starting pitcher, and he should get only better.'
LaRussa said the Cardinals hit a couple balls hard, but the Astros were able to turn them into double plays.
``We got outplayed and out pitched, so they won the game,' LaRussa said.
The Astros got two in the third on an RBI triple by Hunter Pence and an RBI groundout by Carlos Lee. Houston upped the lead to 3-0 with an RBI single by Jason Michaels in the fifth, and after Berkman's home run, tacked on an RBI single by Michael Bourn in the eighth.
Despite not allowing a hit until the seventh, Norris issued leadoff walks in the first, fourth and fifth innings, but each time the Astros turned a double play.
``It wasn't like he was ahead of the batters all night,' said Ryan Theriot, who walked twice but had his 20-game hitting streak end. ``He has a really good fastball. A lot of movement, and you can tell he's a gamer out there competing, giving you everything he's got. To me, that's kind of the X-factor. He comes right at you. He made pitches. I never had a pitch over the plate to hit. I just didn't feel like there was a pitch over the plate for me to hit. He hit the corners and threw the ball well.'
NOTES: There are now two Rasmus brothers in the Cardinals' organization after St. Louis drafted Colby Rasmus's brother Casey in the 36th round Wednesday. Casey is a catcher from Liberty University. ``That's always been what we grew up on was trying making it to the big leagues or play pro ball and he's going to get that taste now,' Colby said. ``I'm super excited for him.' ... La Russa said the soonest he expects to use closer Fernando Salas will be Friday after he threw 44 pitches in a two-inning save on Tuesday. ... Cardinals OF Allen Craig is listed as day to day after injuring his right knee crashing into a fence while chasing a foul ball on Tuesday night.
The Associated Press News Service
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