Cards rout Astros 8-2 for 2-game sweep

Martinez dominant against Astros
(c) Karen Warren/Hou. Chronicle

Wednesday's matinee between the Astros and Cardinals at Minute Maid Park was a one-sided affair in which the home team was never in the game. St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning -- long after Houston starter Doug Fister had exited.

The Cardinals plated three runs in the third inning as Fister piled up a high pitch count that would force him from the game after only four innings having allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk. James Hoyt pitched a scoreless fifth but couldn't keep the Cardinals off the scoreboard in the sixth. A 1-out walk to Jed Gyorko and a double by Randal Grichuk put run number five on the board for St. Louis.

Teoscar Hernandez registered the Astros' first hit of the afternoon with a leadoff double in the sixth. Hernandez came around to score Houston's first run on Alex Bregman's 2-out single.

Brandon Moss added the icing to the cake for the Cardinals with a 3-run homer off Tony Sipp in the seventh. Moss' 22nd long ball of the year raised Sipp's ERA to a disappointing 5.51 for the season.

Michael Feliz and Will Harris stopped the bleeding for the final 2-2/3 innings but the damage had already been done. Jose Altuve added an RBI double in the eighth and the Astros loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth only to squander the opportunity.

The slumping Astros go back on the road, starting a 4-game series in Baltimore Thursday night. Joe Musgrove gets the assignment of stopping Houston's 4-game skid when he squares off against Kevin Gausman and the Orioles in a 6:05 CDT tilt.

- Greg Thurston