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Wainwright hurls Cardinals to 8-1 victory over Astros

Wainwright hurls Cardinals to 8-1 victory over Astros

May 7th, 2012 in News

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and Matt Holliday of the Cardinals look toward first base to see the completion of a double play in the fifth inning of Sunday afternoon's game in Houston.

Photo by The Associated Press /News Tribune.

HOUSTON (AP) - Adam Wainwright hasn't felt like himself this season in his return from elbow-ligament replacement surgery that cost him all of last year.

On Sunday, he finally felt close to being the pitcher he once was.

Tyler Greene hit a career-high two homers and drove in four runs, Wainwright continued his dominance of the Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals got an 8-1 win over Houston.

"It was the first time all year I've really felt extension out over the rubber and better life on the fastball, especially early on," Wainwright said. "I controlled the counts for the most part and let our defense work."

The victory breaks a season-long five-game winning streak for the Astros and ends a three-game skid for the Cardinals.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny raved about Wainwright.

"Adam was great," Matheny said. "He seemed to have a real good feel with his fastball, it was sinking, he was hitting the corners. You could see that they were just off-balance and that curveball seemed to have a little extra bite to it. You just didn't see the kind of swings that you were seeing in some other games this year."

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. But Wainwright believes his success was more about him than the opponent.

"I don't think it had anything to do with who I was facing, it was more just going out there executing," he said.

Wainwright is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his past three starts after opening the season 0-3 with a 9.88 ERA.

Houston starter J.A. Happ (2-2) allowed six hits and a season-high six runs - five earned - in five innings. He has lost five straight games against the Cardinals.

"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."

Greene entered the game with eight hits in 18 games this season. Matheny wouldn't say if a day like Sunday's could propel him into being their regular second baseman.

"We certainly look forward to getting him back in the lineup," Matheny said. "You can't expect those kind of days every day."

His performance Sunday, where he finished 3-for-3 with a walk, doubled the RBI total he had entering the game.