Wainwright dominates in Cardinals' victory over Astros

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 | 10:34 p.m. CDT; updated 1:08 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright winds up against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. Wainwright is 12-1 with a 1.58 ERA for his career against Houston.

ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright matched his career high with 12 strikeouts in a five-hitter and the St. Louis Cardinals punished rookie Lucas Harrell with six runs in the first three innings, getting over an excruciating 19-inning loss two days earlier with a 7-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Skip Schumaker and Yadier Molina had two RBIs apiece for the Cardinals, who got six hits the first seven at-bats in a four-run first and then capitalized on a pair of walks to open a two-run third. Jon Jay had three hits and an RBI.

Wainwright (12-10) threw his second shutout and third complete game of the season. Two of the complete games have come during a string of six consecutive victories at home with a 1.42 ERA. He pitched a five-hitter on Aug. 4, a 6-1 victory over the Brewers.

Wainwright is 12-1 with a 1.58 ERA for his career against Houston. The Astros got two-out hits in the ninth from Justin Maxwell and Jason Castro in a bid to spoil the shutout before Wainwright fanned Ben Francisco on his 105th pitch.

The Astros have been outscored 15-1 in two games under interim manager Tony DeFrancesco, who held a team meeting before the game in an effort to lift the stripped-down franchise out of the doldrums. Houston is just 7-41 since June 28.

Tyler Greene, a former Cardinals first-round pick dealt to Houston earlier this year for a player to be named, struck out twice and grounded out in his first game in St. Louis as a visitor.

Harrell (10-9) had allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last seven starts, but balked home the first run and got a visit from pitching coach Doug Brocail after facing just five hitters. The right-hander retired just five of the first 15 batters before settling down, allowing a walk and sacrifice fly the last 10 hitters.

The day after their 6-3, 19-inning loss to the Pirates — the longest game in the majors this season — manager Mike Matheny led a delegation to help rebuild tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo., and other Cardinals played charity golf.

Jay doubled to start the bottom of the first, and with one out St. Louis got five straight singles from Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, David Freese, Molina and Schumaker. Craig and Freese walked to start the third, Molina followed with an RBI single and Rafael Furcal added a sacrifice fly.

The Astros were shut out for the 12th time.

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