Yadier Molina went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and knocked in two runs to help the St. Louis Cardinals take a 10-5 victory over the Houston Astros to open a four-game set. Colby Rasmus added a two- run homer and drove in three while Nick Punto went 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI and run scored for the Cardinals, who have won four of five. Kyle McClellan (7-6) benefited from the run support to win for the first time since May 19 against Houston. He had gone 0-5 in eight games since his last win and was able to grab the victory on Monday thanks to a one-run outing in which he gave up six hits with no walks and five strikeouts over seven innings. St. Louis and Pittsburgh, which the Cards took two of three from over the weekend, remain in a virtual tie for first place in the NL Central as the Pirates defeated the Braves on Monday. Carlos Lee hit a grand slam while Humberto Quintero drove in the other run for the Astros, who have dropped their past four games. J.A. Happ (4-12) was coming off his first win in over two months with a defeat of Washington on July 19, but he once again failed to win consecutive starts this season after giving up six runs on seven hits with three walks over 4 2/3 innings. Houston rookie second baseman Jose Altuve went 3-for-4 with a run scored in the game to raise his batting average to .412. He has a hit in each of his first five games since being called up by the Astros last week with Monday’s performance being his first multi-hit game.
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