at Kissimmee, Fla.
Monday, March 22
Cardinals at the plate: David Freese smacked a three-run home run in the first inning off Wandy Rodriguez and went 2-for-4. Ryan Ludwick went 2-for-4, including a two-run double in St. Louis' five-run first inning. Ludwick led off the third with a double, and Joe Mather hit a solo homer in the ninth inning for his first long ball of the spring.Astros at the plate: Left fielder Carlos Lee went 3-for-3 with two singles and a bloop double to raise his batting average to .379. J.R. Towles went 1-for-4 with a first-inning double and a run scored. Pedro Feliz homered in his first at-bat in the second inning, and Chris Shelton started at first base and went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Cardinals on the mound: Kyle Lohse, who tossed four scoreless innings his previous start, gave up eight hits and three runs and struck out two batters in five innings and has a 4.60 ERA this spring. He threw 75 pitches. Left-hander Jaime Garcia worked the final four innings for his first save of the spring.Astros on the mound: Rodriguez continued to struggle, giving up seven hits and five runs in four innings while throwing 90 pitches. All five of the runs he allowed came in the first, and he settled down to pitch pretty well for the next three frames. Sammy Gervacio and Wilton Lopez each threw two scoreless innings and struck out three batters. Worth noting: With starting shortstop Tommy Manzella out for at least a week with a strained quadriceps, the Astros put veteran infielder Geoff Blum at shortstop for the first time this spring. Blum, who made a pair of nice defensive plays, has played mostly first and third base in recent years, but he played shortstop earlier in his career. Grapefruit League records: Astros 10-8, Cardinals 8-10. Up next: The Astros hit the road for a game on Tuesday against the Pirates at 12:05 p.m. CT in Bradenton, Fla., for the first of three long trips. The team will cover 624 miles in three days. Most of the starting positions players, with the exception of Feliz and second baseman Kazuo Matsui, won't make the trip to Bradenton. Felipe Paulino will start for the Astros in his third outing of the spring. He's allowed eight hits and four runs in six innings.
The Cardinals are off on Tuesday before returning to Jupiter, Fla., on Wednesday to face the Orioles on MLB.TV at 12:05 p.m. Rich Hill will start for St. Louis, with Kyle McClellan also scheduled to pitch. Hill and McClellan could be making their last appearances before the team decides on who the fifth starter will be. They're competing with Garcia.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.