“It was just one of those nights,” he said. “You’re going to have games like this when you pitch well and lose.”
Penny has been strong all season, never allowing more than three earned runs or lasting fewer than 5 2-3 innings in any of his outings. He is 6-2 with a 2.82 ERA in his last 12 starts, dating to Sept. 1 of last season.
Houston’s two-run seventh inning Tuesday snapped a 13 2-3 inning scoreless streak for the right-hander.
“I’ve got to get my breaking ball going,” Penny said. “Tonight I threw my fastball and changeup. My breaking ball is a big pitch for me. My whole career it’s been my second-best pitch.”
Penny will go up against Woody Williams, who earned his first win of the season Tuesday. He gave up a season-low one earned run and four hits over a season-high eight innings in a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
“It’s just nice to be able to go out there and be under control and not to allow the big inning,” said Williams, who ended a six-start winless streak. “That’s what’s been biting me so far this season.”
Williams, who won 18 games last season, pitched only five innings during spring training because of shoulder tendinitis and allowed 14 runs in 14 2-3 innings in his first three starts of the season.
“He’s such a proud guy,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He needed something like this today to make a mark, and to build on that.”
The Cardinals beat the Marlins 4-0 on Saturday for their second straight win and fifth in six games. Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Edgar Renteria each drove in a run in the fourth inning for St. Louis, which moved three games above .500 for the first time this season.
Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-4 for the Marlins, who have scored just two runs through the first two games of this series. Florida, which is averaging just over three runs in its last 11 games, is wrapping up a six-game road trip.
The Cardinals are finishing a six-game homestand.
STANDINGS (through May 14): Marlins - 1st place, NL East. Cardinals - 3rd place, 2 1/2 GB, NL Central.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Penny (3-2, 2.25 ERA). Penny is 1-1 with a 3.73 ERA in five career starts against the Cardinals.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Williams (1-3, 5.27 ERA). Williams is 2-3 with a 4.17 ERA in eight career starts against Florida.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Mike Lowell, .338 avg.; Lowell and Cabrera, 11 HRs; Cabrera, 28 RBIs and 27 runs; Juan Pierre, 11 SBs. Cardinals - Scott Rolen, .331 avg. and 36 RBIs; Pujols and Reggie Sanders, 9 HRs; Pujols, 33 runs; Tony Womack, 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 2-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - C Mike Redmond grounded into three double plays in a span of five at-bats, ending with his first at-bat Saturday. … RHP A.J. Burnett, recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, threw for 14 minutes in the bullpen at Busch Stadium and is hoping to return to the rotation by early June. … RHP Penny is 1-1 with a 4.86 ERA in three career starts at Busch Stadium. Cardinals - RHP Julian Tavarez, who has had his smudged cap checked twice in the last month, wore a new hat Saturday. He picked up his second save of the season. … The Cardinals clinched their first winning homestand of the season with Saturday’s win. They entered their current homestand 6-11 at home. … SS Renteria and RF Sanders were back in the lineup Saturday after sitting out Friday. Renteria is nursing a nagging back condition, while Sanders simply got the day off to rest.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 11-10 on the road; Cardinals - 10-12 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - RHP Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Chad Fox (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (elbow), 60-day DL. Cardinals - LHP Rick Ankiel (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Lincoln (elbow), 15-day DL.