HOUSTON (AP) — After a difficult May, Houston's Lucas Harrell seemed to have turned things around this month. He entered Tuesday night's game with a 1.73 ERA in four June starts.
Unfortunately for the Astros, he wasn't able to end the month on a high note.
Allen Craig homered and had a season-high four hits with three RBIs, and Carlos Beltran and David Freese both added a homer as the St. Louis Cardinals got back on track by rolling to a 13-5 win over the Astros.
The Cardinals managed just seven runs combined in a three-game sweep by the Texas Rangers, the first time they were swept this season. On Tuesday, they piled up the same number of runs in the fourth inning alone, powered by a three-run triple by Matt Carpenter.
Things went wrong quickly for Harrell (5-8) on Tuesday night. He was gone after allowing seven hits and seven runs with four walks in 3 1-3 innings.
"I left the ball up, and when you leave the ball up against a team that hits they're going to hit," Harrell said.
Craig extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single to start the second before Matt Holliday ended a 0 for 11 slump with a single. Matt Adams grounded into a double play before Harrell walked Freese. He escaped the jam when Jon Jay grounded into a force out to end the inning.
Harrell struck out the side in the third before trouble began in the fourth.
Beltran opened the fourth with a double and scored on a single by Craig to make it 1-0. Holliday and Adams walked before a one-out, bases-loaded walk by Jay made it 2-0.
Pete Kozma's RBI single pushed the lead to 3-0. Carpenter's three-run triple sailed just out of reach of a diving Justin Maxwell in right-center and left St. Louis up 6-0.
Maxwell crashed violently into the grass on the play and was taken out of the game and replaced by J.D. Martinez. The team said Maxwell had a concussion. Porter said he would know more about Maxwell's condition on Wednesday.
A run-scoring single by Yadier Molina wrapped up the scoring for that inning and chased Harrell. He was replaced by Dallas Keuchel, who struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
"I felt like he did a good job the first three innings, even though he ran into a little bit of trouble," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "It looks like in the fourth inning he just lost his command."
"There were a lot of deep counts early on, but he was able to get out of some jams," Porter said. "He just wasn't as fortunate in the fourth, and they put together a pretty big inning."
Page 2 of 2 - Jake Westbrook (4-2) didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning and yielded four hits and four runs in six innings in his third start since coming off the disabled list.
Matt Dominguez got Houston's first hit of the game on a towering home run to left field. Brett Wallace added a two-run triple in that inning in his first game back from Triple-A.
"He swung the bat well . It was good for him to hit the ball hard his first time back up since being sent down earlier in the year," Porter said of Wallace.
Chris Carter walked to start the second inning, but Westbrook got back on track after that, retiring the next 12 batters. The Astros didn't have another baserunner until the homer by Dominguez to start the sixth.
"He was pitching well," Dominguez said of Westbrook. "I was just trying to go up there, get a good count, get a good pitch and just hit it hard somewhere."
Barnes walked and Jose Altuve singled before the triple by Wallace scored them to make it 9-3.
Houston got within 9-4 on a sacrifice fly by Jason Castro. Carlos Pena doubled with two outs, but Westbrook limited the damage by retiring Martinez.
Beltran launched a 73 mph curveball into the Crawford Boxes in left field for a two-run home run — his 18th of the season — to make it 9-0 in the sixth inning.
Freese pushed the lead to 11-4 when he hit his fifth homer of the season off Travis Blackley in the seventh.
Craig's two-run homer off Josh Fields made it 13-4 in the eighth.
Houston added a run on an RBI single by Ronny Cedeno in the ninth.
NOTES: The two-game series wraps up on Wednesday when Houston's Erik Bedard opposes Lance Lynn. ... The Cardinals will skip Joe Kelly's spot in the rotation because they have two days off this week. The rest of the rotation will remain the same. ... The Astros also changed their rotation because of two off days and will skip Keuchel. ... The Astros recalled infielders Wallace and Jake Elmore from Triple-A Oklahoma City. They take the roster spots of shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, who was optioned to Oklahoma City on Monday, and left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who was designated for assignment.