ST. LOUIS (AP) The Houston Astros have found life since moving George Springer to the leadoff spot, and Wednesday night was a perfect example.
Springer had the go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, threw out a runner at the plate from right field and almost nailed a second with his arm in a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals for a two-game sweep.
''George always does things,'' Houston starter Collin McHugh said. ''It was a very typical George day.''
Tony Sipp (1-2) got the last out of the seventh, Carlos Correa's two-run single off Trevor Rosenthal made it a three-run lead in the ninth and Will Harris finished for his fifth save in as many chances.
The Astros are 15-7 since shifting Springer ahead of Jose Altuve, who batted third in both games against St. Louis and had two hits on Wednesday. Springer had been in a 4-for-37 slump before connecting to straightaway center off Kevin Siegrist (4-2) with two outs for his 15th homer.
''I've been hitting the ball hard, just haven't gotten anything out of it,'' Springer said. ''You just have to keep grinding and do anything that you can, and that's on the bases or the outfield or try to draw a walk, whatever it is.''
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright worked seven innings of four-hit ball and Greg Garcia, batting for the pitcher in the bottom half, hit an RBI single off McHugh to open the scoring.
''I'd rather be up 10-0 but when you get locked in those 0-0 games sometimes it does drive you to pitch a little more focused,'' Wainwright said. ''You don't want to be the first one to give up a run.''
Yadier Molina started the two-out rally with a single, one of his three hits, and barely beat Springer's relay home from right.
Wainwright is 13-1 in his career with a 1.48 ERA against the Astros, the lowest in major league history against an opponent among starters with at least 10 starts. He struck out six, walked three and faced only one batter with a runner in scoring position when he fanned McHugh to end the fifth.
McHugh allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks.
The Astros wrapped up their first trip to St. Louis since the hacking scandal of the team's data base last year.
The Cardinals had three hits and an intentional walk in the fifth but came up empty. The key play: Jhonny Peralta dropped a blooper just inside the line in medium right for a hit but Stephen Piscotty, who doubled to open the inning, was an easy out at the plate on the relay by Springer from right field.
Springer elected not to attempt a diving catch and take his chances on the bounce, reasoning that Piscotty would have had to wait, and earned his seventh assist.
Cardinals 1B Matt Adams made an outstanding sliding catch of Altuve's foul pop near the St. Louis dugout to end the top of the sixth. LF Matt Holliday slid to snare Correa's sinking liner to end the first.
Astros: RHP Luke Gregorson is on the family medical reserve list and is expected back within a week.
Cardinals: Demoted 2B Kolten Wong has been playing CF for Triple-A Memphis, helping his chances for a recall at some point. ... C Brayan Pena returned to Memphis for a rehab start after spending time at home in Orlando, Florida, attending to a personal issue.
Astros: The rotation has been juggled a bit and Lance McCullers (3-2, 4.54) will work the opener of a three-game series against the Reds on Friday, followed by Dallas Keuchel (3-9, 5.54) and Mike Fiers (4-3, 4.76).
Cardinals: Michael Wacha (2-6, 4.91) has lost a career-worst six consecutive decisions since April 28 entering the opener of a weekend series against the Rangers on Friday. The last St. Louis pitcher to lose seven straight was Kip Wells in 2007.