- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Both of the St. Louis Cardinals’ left-handed hitting first basemen were in the lineup. Manager Mike Matheny liked what it did for the team’s power profile.

Matt Adams and Brandon Moss homered in a 5-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Tuesday night. Adams played first base, Moss right field.

“I can move around, and if you hit, the at-bats will be there,” Moss said. “We both can do a lot of damage when we’re in the lineup.”

Matheny has a daily lineup challenge at first base, with Adams and Moss combining for 24 homers. He solved it for this one by packing his batting order with five left-handed hitters against Doug Fister, moving Stephen Piscotty to center field and leaving Randal Grichuk on the bench.

“When Randal is going well, we’re going to want him in the lineup, too,” Matheny said.

Moss has seven homers in his last 12 games after totaling eight in the first 47. He’s usually a dead pull hitter but waited on a pitch from Fister that he hit over the wall in left in the sixth.

“I would say I was a little late,” Moss joked. “If you go the other way with a fastball, great, if you pull a changeup, great.”

Fister pitched effectively into the eighth and gave the Astros breathing room with a two-run single in the seventh.

Colby Rasmus hit his 150th career homer in his first game back in St. Louis since 2011 to help end the Cardinals’ season-best five-game winning streak.

Fister had been 0 for 2 on the season before hitting the first pitch from reliever Seung Hwan Oh up the middle to put the Astros ahead by three in the seventh. The Cardinals had been anticipating a pinch hitter.

“Good move,” Matheny said. “Because it worked.”

Fister (7-3) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, his longest outing of the season, to win his sixth consecutive decision. The Astros have won the right-hander’s last nine starts overall.

The hit gave Fister four career RBIs, and the first since he had one in 2013 for Detroit.

The Astros’ 6-7-8 hitters were a combined 6 for 7 against Jaime Garcia (4-6). Rasmus also singled, Carlos Gomez singled and scored twice and Marwin Gonzalez singled and doubled with an RBI.

“Made a couple mistakes, and they put good swings on them,” Garcia said.

Fister retired 14 straight after Adams homered leading off the second, a streak that ended on Moss’ 15th homer in the sixth that cut the Astros’ lead to 3-2.

Garcia is 2-6 with a 6.15 ERA in 10 career starts against Houston. The lefty has lost four of his last five decisions overall but Matheny viewed the fact he was inducing more miss-hit grounders as a positive.

“Everybody needs encouragement, I don’t care who you are,” Matheny said. “But he shouldn’t doubt the kind of pitcher he can be.

“It’s just a matter of how long we can put him in a good spot and ride it.”

Will Harris worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.

The Astros are making their first trip to St. Louis since the hacking scandal of the team’s data base last year.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: SS Carlos Correa (left ankle) returned to the lineup after missing three games.

Cardinals: Reliever Seth Maness (elbow) and C Brayan Pena (knee) remain on rehab assignments with Double-A Springfield with no firm call-up plans.

UP NEXT

Astros: Collin McHugh lasted just 3 2-3 innings his last start, allowing four runs in a loss at Texas. He has a 9.49 ERA in the first inning.

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright is 13-1 with a 1.57 ERA in his career against Houston, including seven victories his last seven outings. He had a season-high nine strikeouts last time out in a victory at Cincinnati.


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