HOUSTON (AP) - Houston starter J.A. Happ had pitched well through five starts this season.
Things didn't go so well in his sixth.
Tyler Greene hit a career-high two homers and drove in four runs, Adam Wainwright continued his dominance of the Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals got an 8-1 win over Houston on Sunday.
The victory breaks a season-long five-game winning streak for the Astros and ends a three-game skid for the Cardinals.
Happ (2-2) allowed six hits and a season-high six runs - five earned - in five innings.
``He was having a hard time keeping the ball down in the zone,' Houston manager Brad Mills said. ``He's been throwing the ball so well and keeping it down in the zone. He's been effective. Today, I didn't see that.'
Happ, who fell to 1-7 in his career against the Cardinals and has lost five straight to St. Louis, walked four and struck out three.
``A couple of the walks hurt, and they got some good swings on the ball,' Happ said. ``Greene put a good swing on that ball. It was up and away, but it was right in his swing path, so it probably wasn't a good pitch. I got beat on a couple of big hits.'
Happ said he felt fine, but he did get a little frustrated in the fifth when he walked two.
``A good team like that, I put us behind early,' Happ said. ``They put some good swings on balls. It's tough to come back against a good pitcher like that. Unfortunately, I couldn't keep us where we were at after that first inning. Tough one.'
Mills said Happ wasn't able to get ``locked in'.
``He was continuously trying to make adjustments right away,' Mills said. ``He wasn't able to get that down angle and to get those strikes because he's been so good and so consistent so far up to this point.'
Allen Craig also homered for St. Louis, getting things going with a two-run shot in the first inning.
Greene's two-run home run in the fourth pushed the lead to 6-0 and his solo homer in the eighth made it 8-1.
Wainwright (2-3) allowed seven hits and one run with seven strikeouts in seven innings. He improved to 10-1 in 17 career appearances against the Astros - his most wins against any team.
``He was locating his fastball in and out and moving it up and down when he wanted to,' Houston outfielder Brian Bogusevic said. ``His off-speed stuff he was throwing for strikes when he wanted to and out of the zone when he wanted to. I guess he struggled earlier (this season), but he definitely looked good today.'
Greene entered the game with eight hits in 18 games this season.
His performance on Sunday, where he finished 3 for 3 with a walk, doubled the RBI total he had entering the game.
Carlos Lee and Jed Lowrie hit consecutive singles in the fourth inning before Travis Buck grounded into a force out that left Lowrie out at second. A wild pitch allowed Lee to score to make it 6-1.
Greene walked and stole second base in the sixth inning before scoring on a two-out single by Rafael Furcal.
Matt Holliday walked in the first before Craig's two-out homer, which bounced high on the wall above the Crawford Boxes in left field, gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead.
The Cardinals added a run in the second on an RBI double by Greene to make it 3-0.
Carlos Beltran walked to start the third inning. He was out at second on a fielder's choice on a grounder by Holliday. Holliday, who tripped leaving the plate, reached second on an error by Jose Altuve. A double by Craig sent Holliday home to push the lead to 4-0.
Jon Jay robbed pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell of a hit with a nifty catch while sliding to his knees near the wall in left center field in the fifth inning. Bogusevic one-upped him in the seventh when he denied David Freese of a home run when he jumped and reached back into the stands in right field for the catch.
Houston's Jordan Schafer went 0 for 4 to end his streak of reaching safely in 25 straight games to start the season. The mark ties a franchise record which was also reached by Denis Menke in 1969.
NOTES: St. Louis 1B Lance Berkman, on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled left calf, experienced some discomfort when he ran on Friday, but felt better when he ran again on Sunday. ``I want to get to where I can't even feel it at all and it's not there yet,' he said. ``But it's a marked improvement over two days ago. I'm going to try to run again (Monday) and try to push it a little bit more.' ... Sunday was Altuve's 22nd birthday.
The Associated Press News Service
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