After his worst outing in a stellar season, the St. Louis Cardinals' Lance Lynn quickly regained his dominant form. Given his performances against Houston over his career, there's a good chance he could show that again Wednesday night.
The right-hander will seek to reach 11 wins before the All-Star break for the second straight season in the series finale against the Astros.
Lynn (10-1, 3.42 ERA) gave up a career-high seven runs and nine hits in five innings in Miami on June 15 but got enough run support to earn the win in a 13-7 victory. Five days later against the Chicago Cubs, he yielded only a solo homer and two singles over six frames in a 6-1 win.
"He had a whole different disposition and pitched with a lot of confidence," manager Mike Matheny said. "You could tell he had a good feel for the ball."
In his first full major league season, Lynn was 11-4 before the 2012 All-Star break. He finished fourth in the NL with 18 victories, with three of them coming against former NL Central foe Houston. He is 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA in four career starts versus the Astros (29-49).
The Cardinals (48-29) blew out Houston 13-5 in the first interleague matchup between the clubs Tuesday for their 11th win in 12 meetings.
St. Louis scored seven runs in the fourth inning, matching its output from a three-game sweep to Texas this weekend. After being moved into the cleanup spot, Allen Craig led the way with a season-high four hits, including a two-run homer, and three RBIs.
"You're going to have tough weekends because there are good teams out there and very good pitchers and sometimes it's just hard to pull it off," Matheny said. "Our guys went out and kind of did the same thing that they usually do."
The Astros, meanwhile, have suffered back-to-back losses after winning seven of 10. Erik Bedard (2-3, 4.43) will try to help his last-place club get back on track with another superb outing.
Bedard has allowed two runs over 13 1-3 innings in his last two games, and is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in his last eight starts. He allowed one run and matched a season high with eight strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings - his most since May 20, 2011 - but did not get a decision in last Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Milwaukee.
"Bedard was outstanding, and he gave us everything he had," manager Bo Porter said. "He did a tremendous job and pitched well enough to get the win. Unfortunately, we were not able to hold the lead."
Bedard hasn't been outstanding in his matchups against the Cardinals, recording a 9.64 ERA in losing his last two against them.
Matt Holliday, who was dropped from the No. 3 spot in the lineup to fifth for the first time this season Tuesday, is 8 for 20 all-time against Bedard. Yadier Molina, batting .472 in his last 11 games against Houston, has three doubles and a home run in his eight at-bats versus the left-hander.