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.