HOUSTON (AP) -- The last time reliever Fernando Rodriguez took over for an injured starter in the second inning he wound up getting a win for the Houston Astros.
On Monday night he didn't come out of the tough situation nearly as well.
Lance Lynn pitched seven innings to earn his 17th win, rookie Pete Kozma hit a two-run homer and the St. Louis Cardinals strengthened their grip on a playoff spot with a 6-1 win over the Astros.
Yadier Molina added a solo shot as the Cardinals moved 3 games in front of Milwaukee and Los Angeles for the second NL wild card. The Brewers lost 12-2 at Washington earlier in the day, and the Dodgers were off.
Houston starter Fernando Abad (0-6) pitched 1 2-3 innings before leaving with a strained right oblique. He walked one and allowed a run. He was replaced by Rodriguez, who was charged with three runs -- all off homers -- and seven hits in a career-long 4 1-3 innings.
Monday was the second time in the last four games that a Houston starting pitcher ...