St. Louis, MO – Adam Wainwright continued to dominate the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals took the opener of a three-game set, 7-0.
It took 105 pitches for Wainwright (12-10) to throw his fourth career shutout. He held the Astros to five hits and only issued one walk. He matched a career high with 12 strikeouts en route to his fifth straight winning decision.
In the process, Wainwright improved to 12-1 with a 1.58 earned run average in 20 games (14 starts) against Houston in his career.
"I don't know what more you could ask of him. He had everything working," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about Wainwright. "He's been pretty impressive here for a while."
Yadier Molina drove in a pair of runs and picked up three hits to lead the St. Louis attack.
Lucas Harrell (10-9), who pitched to a 2.06 ERA over his previous seven starts, was ambushed for six runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings.
"Today was just one of those days where it didn't really work out for me," Harrell said.
The Cardinals jumped ahead with four quick runs in the first inning. Jon Jay picked up a leadoff double and advanced to third on a groundout. He came home on a balk to put the Cardinals on the board.
But St. Louis did not stop there. Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, David Freese, Molina and Skip Schumaker delivered five straight singles to open up a four- run lead.
The Cardinals tacked on two more runs in the third after Craig and Freese walked to start the frame. Molina lined a base hit to left, scoring Craig, and Furcal lofted a sacrifice fly to right to put St. Louis up six.
Meanwhile, the Astros were unable to pose much of a threat against Wainwright. The right-hander retired the first nine hitters he faced and did not allow an Astro to reach third base until the ninth inning.
St. Louis capped the scoring when Jay singled home Rafael Furcal, who led off the sixth with a double.
It was Wainwright's second shutout of the season ... St. Louis has won four of seven games against Houston this season ... As a starter, Wainwright is 12-1 with a 1.45 ERA against Houston (16 earned runs in 99 2/3 innings), and has never allowed more than three runs in a start ... Harrell's string of seven straight starts of allowing two runs or less came to an end ... The Astros have lost their last five games ... Houston went 0-for-6 and St. Louis went 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position.