The St. Louis Cardinals try to push their winning streak to five straight games on Wednesday night when they face their former division rivals the Houston Astros for the final time in 2013.
The Cards won 11 of their 15 meetings with the Astros last season, taking all six meetings in St. Louis in what was Houston's last year as a member of the NL Central.
The former division rivals split a two-game set in Houston from June 25-26 of this year and the Astros made their first trip to St. Louis as a member of the AL West on Tuesday night. The Cardinals came away winners in the opener of another two-game set, riding the arm of Adam Wainwright to a 9-5 win.
Wainwright hurled seven innings of one-run ball, giving up five hits and a walk while striking out nine. He has logged at least seven innings in nine of his last 10 appearances.
"He established a breaking ball, using different speeds and mixing them with his fastball," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "He did a great job."
Matt Carpenter went 3-for-4 with three RBI, Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer and Allen Craig also drove in two runs for the Cardinals, who recorded 15 hits and lead Pittsburgh by 1 1/2 games for first place in the NL Central.
Bud Norris was battered over five innings, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits and a walk for the Astros, who have lost nine of their last 11 games.
"Today just wasn't my day," said Norris. "I made some good pitches and I made some bad pitches and they hit all of them. That's a good hitting club over there and they had it going tonight."
The Astros tried to make a game of it in the ninth inning, with Jake Elmore, Jimmy Paredes, Jose Altuve and Brett Wallace each driving in a run before St. Louis closer Edward Mujica came into the game and recorded the final out for his 24th save of the season.
The Cardinals will try to stay hot behind rookie Shelby Miller, who bounced back from a rough outing to pick up a win last time out.
Miller had lost two straight starts and three of his previous four before a victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last Wednesday. He held them to a pair of runs on five hits and two walks over six innings of a 12-2 rout, returning to form after yielding five runs over just 1 2/3 innings of a loss at Oakland on June 28.
"I felt like my fastball had a little bit of life," Miller said following the win over the Angels, which moved him to 9-6 on the season with a 2.80 earned run average through 17 starts.
The 22-year-old righty will make his first career start versus the Astros, though he did throw an inning of relief against them last year.
Houston counters with its own 22-year-old in Jordan Lyles, who carried a two- start losing streak into his last outing on Thursday. Lyles, though, pitched well in a no-decision, limiting the Tampa Bay Rays to a pair of runs on six hits and three walks over 6 2/3 frames.
Lyles departed with the game tied at 2-2, leaving him 4-3 on the year with a 3.87 ERA in 13 starts.
The right-hander faces the Cardinals for the first time.