Lynn leads Cardinals into finale with Astros

Lance Lynn takes aim at a National League-high 11th win on Wednesday night when the St. Louis Cardinals close out a two-game interleague set with the former division foe Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Lynn burst onto the scene with 18 wins a year ago, his first full big league season. He is on pace to surpass that mark this season after holding the Chicago Cubs to just a solo homer and two singles over six innings on Thursday.

"He's one of the guys that doesn't get the attention that some of the others are getting and I think he's fine with that," said manager Mike Matheny. "Or maybe I'm fine with that. Everybody wants to be recognized for what you're doing. He's done a great job. He's a workhorse. We'd love to continue to watch him improve and grow as a pitcher, and I think there's better things ahead for him than what we've even seen so far."

Lynn is 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA in four career starts against Houston.

Taking the hill for the Astros is southpaw Erik Bedard, who limited Milwaukee to one run on four hits to go along with eight strikeouts his last time out. Bedard has held seven of his last eight opponents to two runs or fewer. However, he has only two wins to his credit in that span.

In Tuesday's series opener, St. Louis out-hit the Astros, 15-6, to claim a 13-5 victory and atone for being swept at home by the Rangers over the weekend. In fact, the Cards' seven-run fourth inning matched their run total for the entire three-game series against Texas. Allen Craig, batting out of the No. 4 hole, laced a season-high four hits, including a two-run homer.

Astros starter Lucas Harrell had posted a 1.73 ERA with 17 strikeouts in four June starts. However, he was no match for the Redbirds lineup on Tuesday as he lasted only 3 1/3 innings after being shelled for seven runs. Meanwhile, Jake Westbrook took a no-hitter into the sixth inning for St. Louis, and the outcome was never really in doubt after that big fourth inning.

"It's pretty hard to make too much out of a weekend when you look at a whole season and what our offense has been able to do," Matheny said. "I hope the guys didn't read into that anything at all because (the Rangers) series was not a fair statement. Our offense has been very consistent and has a very good idea what they're trying to do."

The Cardinals certainly demonstrated that on Tuesday night, and over the past handful of matchups with Houston. They have won 11 of the last 12 meetings and 22 of 31 overall in the head-to-head series.