Cardinals 5, Astros 0: Lance Lynn scattered three hits over 6 1/3 solid innings and David Freese and Yadier Molina belted their 20th homers of the season as host St. Louis strengthened its hold on the National League's second wild card.
Lynn (16-7) won his second consecutive start after returning from the bullpen - and did so in dominating fashion. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out five as the Cardinals won their third straight contest to move two games ahead of Los Angeles, which split a doubleheader with Washington on Wednesday.
Freese gave Lynn all the offense he would need in the second inning after drilling a 3-2 fastball from Lucas Harrell (10-10) into the second row in right-center field.
Molina tacked on a solo shot onto the grass beyond the center-field wall in the fourth inning to become the franchise-best fifth St. Louis player with at least 20 homers this season. Carlos Beltran leads the way with 29 blasts, followed by Matt Holliday (27), Allen Craig (21), Freese and Molina.
Holliday collected his second hit with an RBI single in the eighth inning for the Cardinals, who defeated the Astros for the seventh straight time.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Harrell yielded three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. ... Ted Simmons was the last Cardinals' catcher to reach the 20-homer plateau, doing so with 21 in 1980. ... St. Louis reliever Mitchell Boggs struck out the side in the eighth inning for his NL-leading 31st hold.