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Craig, Descalso Lead Cardinals Over Astros 4-3

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Daniel Descalso of the St. Louis Cardinals reaches to make a play on a ball. (credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Daniel Descalso of the St. Louis Cardinals reaches to make a play on a ball. (credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (AP) – Perhaps more important than Daniel Descalso‘s homer Wednesday night was his stellar defensive play that saved the game for St. Louis.

Descalso and Allen Craig both homered to back Adam Wainwright, and the Cardinals held off the Houston Astros 4-3 after a scare in the eighth inning.

Jason Castro tied a career high with his third hit on a single with no outs. Pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez reached on a bunt single and first baseman Matt Adams’ throw to Descalso covering first was high. That sent Gonzalez to second as Castro tried to score, but he was thrown out at the plate by Descalso.

The second baseman had to sprint far down the right-field line to retrieve the ball before making a pinpoint throw to catcher Yadier Molina.

“I honestly didn’t think they were going to send him there with no outs, but I looked up and he was (rounding) third and I just fired to home,” Descalso said. “I put it right on the money and he was out.”

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny raved about Descalso’s effort.

“Incredible play,” he said. “Turned around – pretty much a blind throw – and Yadi there for the tag. Obviously that was the game.”

Gonzalez was injured on the play when he tripped over first base. He hobbled off the field and the team said he had a bruised right heel. He was replaced by pinch-runner J.A. Happ.

Jason Motte replaced Mitchell Boggs with two outs and walked Jed Lowrie, but Fernando Martinez struck out to end the inning. Motte remained in for the ninth and allowed one hit before earning his 10th save.

Descalso’s homer came in a three-run first inning and Craig connected in the third to make it 4-1. Craig also had an RBI single in the first.

Wainwright (5-6) yielded seven hits and three runs with eight strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings to improve to 5-0 in six starts at Minute Maid Park.

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