George Hendrick drove in three runs with a double and rookie reliever Dave Von Ohlen allowed only three hits over 5 1/3 innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-3 victory over the Astros last night in Houston.
Von Ohlen (1-0) allowed one earned run and no walks and struck out three. Before the game, he had pitched only three innings in four appearances. Bruce Sutter earned his fourth save of the year, going 1 1/3 innings.
"I have been mainly a short-relief pitcher in the minor leagues and I have never doubted I would make the big leagues," said Von Ohlen, who spent seven years in the minors. "All my stuff was working well tonight. I am not an overpowering pitcher and I have to keep the ball down to be effective."
The Cardinals scored four runs in the first off Mike LaCoss (3-4). Tom Herr led off with a walk and Ken Oberkfell singled. Lonnie Smith was safe on a fielder's choice and stole second. After an intentional walk to Keith Hernandez, Hendrick doubled to left center, scoring all three runners. He came home on a double by Willie McGee.