HOUSTON (AP) — When Lance Lynn began to struggle with his control, the Houston Astros made the most of the opportunity.
Erik Bedard pitched six effective innings and the Astros used a four-run fourth to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Wednesday night.
"That was huge for us to capitalize on that inning and really maximize that situation," said Jason Castro, who singled and scored in the rally.
Bedard (3-3) allowed seven hits and walked one, but limited St. Louis to three runs. Josh Fields, Wesley Wright and Jose Cisnero then combined to pitch two hitless innings before Jose Veras worked the ninth for his 16th save.
Veras yielded a one-out single to Jon Jay and then walked Matt Adams, but pinch hitter Daniel Descalso struck out and Matt Carpenter flied out to end the game.
"They did a tremendous job," Houston manager Bo Porter said of his relievers. "Veras ran into a little bit of trouble but was able to make the necessary pitches in the ninth to get out of it and close it out."
Allen Craig homered for the second straight night and Yadier Molina had a two-run shot for the Cardinals, who lost for the fourth time in five games. They dropped into a tie with surging Pittsburgh for the lead in the NL Central.
Lynn (10-2) allowed five hits, walked four and struck out four over 7 2-3 innings for his first loss in four career starts in Houston.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said it looked as if Lynn lost his rhythm in the fourth.
"It wasn't a good inning," Lynn said. "The hits weren't the problem — it was the walks. When you walk people, you get yourself in trouble, and that's what happened. I just didn't throw strikes."
Molina and Craig helped the Cardinals get off to a nice start. Molina followed Carpenter's leadoff single in the first with a drive to the Crawford Boxes in left field for his sixth homer. Craig had a leadoff drive in the fourth that bounced off the lights atop the wall in left field, extending the lead to 3-0.
But Houston responded in the bottom half. Jose Altuve and Castro got it started with back-to-back singles for the Astros' first hits of the game. Lynn then walked Chris Carter on four pitches to load the bases before sending a run home when he also walked Carlos Pena on four pitches.
Carter leads the majors with 108 strikeouts this season, but Porter was impressed with his patience in the big inning.
"His at-bats have gotten extremely disciplined from a standpoint of he's attacking the pitches that he should attack — not expanding (the zone) as often as he was earlier in the year, and he's putting together some really good at-bats," Porter said.