HOUSTON (AP) - Joel Pineiro allowed five hits in seven effective innings, Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer and the St. Louis Cardinals inched closer to the NL Central title on Tuesday with an 11-2 win over the Houston Astros.
Colby Rasmus added a solo shot as the Cardinals reduced their magic number for clinching the division to two. Pineiro (15-11) struck out four and threw only 87 pitches to win for the first time in four starts.
The Astros have dropped nine in a row, their longest skid since losing 10 straight in May 2007. Interim manager Dave Clark fell to 0-2 since replacing the fired Cecil Cooper on Monday.