Freese helps Cards crush Astros

David Freese crushed a grand slam to cap a seven-run seventh inning and added a two-run homer in the ninth as the St. Louis Cardinals pounded the Houston Astros, 14-2, in the finale of a three- game set at Minute Maid Park.

Rafael Furcal went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI, Carlos Beltran ripped a solo shot, had two RBI and scored twice, Shane Robinson crushed a two-run homer and Allen Craig added a pair of RBI for the Cardinals, who have won three of four since dropping five straight.

Lance Lynn (9-2) allowed two runs on six hits over six innings while striking out a career-high 11 batters to earn the win. With the victory, Lynn moves into a tie for the major league lead in wins with Mets hurler R. A. Dickey, who beat the Nationals on Thursday.

"Lance was good. You could tell he felt really good today," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny about Lynn. "The ball was jumping out of his hand."

Jed Lowrie ripped a solo homer and Chris Johnson had an RBI double for the Astros, losers in 10 of their last 12 contests.

J. A. Happ (4-6) yielded four runs on five hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings to take the loss.

Trailing 2-0 after two frames, St. Louis took the lead and control of the game in the third with three runs. Tyler Greene started the frame with a base hit up the middle and Robinson walked. After both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Lynn, Furcal reached on a bunt single to score Greene for the first run of the inning. Beltran brought in Robinson with a sac-fly and Craig drove in Furcal two batters later to make it 3-2.

"I felt real good coming out and then in that third I just made it harder than it needed to be," admitted Happ. "They did a good job of fouling a lot of pitches off and battled and I let a couple of guys go."

Beltran belted a one-out solo shot over the wall in left-center in the fifth to extend the lead to 4-2, and the Cards would add to their lead in each of their next two at-bats to put the game away for good.

Robinson ripped a base hit up the middle and moved to second on a Lynn sacrifice in the sixth before scoring on a base hit by Furcal, and the Cards made it a laugher in the seventh, plating seven runs to take a 10-run lead.

Robinson started the rally by blasting a two-run shot into left. Furcal singled and Beltran and Matt Holliday walked to load the bases with two outs. Craig then ripped a base hit off Astros reliever Wesley Wright to score Furcal and Freese followed with the big blow of the game -- a moon shot grand slam to left -- to put St. Louis ahead 12-2.

Freese added his second homer of the game in the ninth with a two-run blast off of outfielder Brian Bogusevic to account for the final margin.

Houston jumped on top in its first at-bat when Lowrie ripped a solo shot into the left field seats off Lynn for the first run of the game.

The Astros quickly extended their lead to 2-0 in the second when Brett Wallace belted a double down the right field line and scored on a double to right by Johnson.

Game Notes

Prior to Thursday's game, the Cardinals placed pitcher Jaime Garcia on the 15- day disabled list and recalled pitcher Fernando Salas from Triple-A Memphis...Also on Thursday, the Astros reached contract agreements with No. 1 overall draft selection Carlos Correa and third-round pick Brady Rodgers...Bogusevic pitched the top of the ninth and allowed two runs on three hits...St. Louis went 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 14 on base.