Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 5/7/12
Second baseman Tyler Greene showed all those offensive skills Sunday that have labeled him still a prospect although he more often than not has been suspect at the big-league level. Greene, mostly a reserve who was starting at second base against Houston LHP J.A. Happ, clubbed two homers and a double and drove in four runs as he bumped his average to .256. He stole one base and nearly had another and he also turned in a nifty double play in the field as the Cardinals captured the finale of a three-game series from the Astros, 8-1. First baseman Allen Craig, knocked out for two months last May when he slid into a railing here and suffered a broken right kneecap, got his revenge on Minute Maid Park by homering and doubling and knocking in three runs. As the Cardinals stopped their losing streak at three games and the Astros' winning streak at five, RHP Adam Wainwright did what he always does against the Astros. Wainwright, winning his second straight, held the Astros to one run on seven singles in seven innings and struck out seven. It was Wainwright's 10th win in 11 career decisions against the Astros and his earned-run average for that body of work is 1.54. But what Greene did certainly was less expected than the feats of the other two. In fact, he did what no other Cardinals second baseman ever has done. According to SABR research, Greene is the first Cardinals second baseman to have as many as four RBI, three hits and two homers and at least one stolen base in the same game. The Cardinals, who roughed up Happ on Sunday (Happ is 1-7 for his career against them), are slated to face two more left-handers when they get to Arizona for the start of a series on Monday night. Therefore, the right-handed-batting Greene is liable to be seen again. "Hopefully, I was able to earn a couple of days out there (in Arizona)," said Greene. "Everybody wants to be out there every day. You just take whatever circumstance you're given and do the best you can with it." NOTES, QUOTES --1B Allen Craig is hitting .375 and slugging .750 after his first four games, including three doubles and a homer, after leaving the disabled list. "I can't wait for the year I can see 500 to 600 at-bats from that guy," said hitting coach Mark McGwire. -- RHP Adam Wainwright is getting closer to the form he displayed in 2009-10, when he won 39 games for the Cardinals before losing last season to an elbow operation. After pitching poorly in his first three starts this season, amassing an unsightly 9.88 ERA along with three losses, Wainwright is 2-0 and 2.70 since then, including a one-run, seven-hit allotment over seven innings on Sunday. "You could see he had a good feel for all his pitches. I don't think (Wainwright) is very far away now," manager Mike Matheny said. -- CF Jon Jay turned in his sixth spectacular play of the three-game series when he avoided LF Matt Holliday, who had pulled up, and made a sliding catch on Justin Maxwell's drive to left center in the fifth inning. Craig said, "I don't think I've seen anybody dive that many times and catch every one of them. Usually, you dive a couple of times before you catch one. I think he dived five times and he caught all of them." -- Injured 1B Lance Berkman ran in the outfield for some 10 minutes before the game and said his strained left calf "felt a lot better than the other day. Marked improvement." Matheny said, "It was better, so that's definitely a step in the right direction but still not enough to push it over the top." Berkman said he understood the new plan to be that, if healthy, he would be activated next Friday when the Cardinals are back home. -- Matheny had pondered giving 34-year-old SS Rafael Furcal a day off Sunday. But too much was happening for Furcal and not enough was happening for the Cardinals. Furcal, matching Lou Brock in 1974, had led off six straight games with hits and he had scored in the first inning after five of them. Matheny said, "He was excited about getting in there and facing a lefty (J.A. Happ). And there's no question that everybody's pretty excited about winning a game here." The Cardinals won but Furcal's streak was snapped with a first-inning fly out. -- RHP Lance Lynn, whose six big-league victories, five in a row this year, have all come against National League Central Division foes, will pitch against defending NL West champion Arizona on Monday night in Phoenix. BY THE NUMBERS: 16-11 -- Record for Cardinals in a stretch of 27 consecutive games against NL Central teams. QUOTE TO NOTE: "People who haven't played with him maybe were worried, but not the people who have. It was going to happen. And it's probably going to happen 35 more times, so I don't think it's a huge shock to any of us in here." -- INFOF Skip Schumaker on former Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols hitting his first home run for the Los Angeles Angels.
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