HOUSTON -- Behind the pitching of its ace, Roger Clemens, and relievers Chad Qualls and Brad Lidge, Houston inched ahead of St. Louis in the National League Championship Series with a 4-3 win Saturday in Game 3.
Timely hitting by Mike Lamb keyed the offense. Lamb finished 2-for-4 with a two-run home run off of Cardinals starting pitcher Matt Morris in the third inning.
Lidge's 30-plus-inning scoreless streak against the Cardinals was snapped when John Mabry ripped an RBI double off him in the ninth, but Lidge earned his second save of the series.
A look at key statistics through Game 3 of the NLCS.
|ERA||3.11||Starters going deep, Lidge and relief corps finishing things off|
|BA||.290||Timely hitting is the key to the team's rising batting average|
|BA w/ RISP||.090||Astros moving runners along at key points, even though they might not always get a hit with runners in scoring position|
|Runs||11||Four runs in Game 3 is a lot considering the pitching matchups thus far|
|Errors||1||The Cards have taken advantage of opponent's miscues all season, so the Astros' error-free fielding continues to be a plus|
|Mike Lamb||.375 (2-for-4, two RBIs, two runs in Game 3)||Manager Phil Garner gave Chris Burke the start, but not at the expense of Lamb, who started in left field and went 2-for-4, with a key two-run homer|
|Morgan Ensberg||1-for-10 in the series||Houston ahead despite lackluster showing by All-Star slugger|
Jason Lane's RBI single in the sixth put the Astros ahead, 3-2, half an inning after the Cardinals had tied the game at 2.
The move by Garner to keep Lamb's bat and start Burke proved to be the most beneficial move of the game. Lamb not only had two hits but two RBIs and two runs.
The Astros pitching staff has held the mighty Cardinals offense to just four runs in the last 18 innings.
"I think my power sneaks up on me as well as everybody else. I've always been a hitter that uses the whole field and hits for batting average. With the dimensions here at Minute Maid, you know, my ability to go the opposite way has been a benefit." -- Lamb
Stephen A. Norris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.