Cosart starts fast before running into trouble

Right-hander strikes out side in first, allows five runs in 3 1/3 innings

Cosart starts fast before running into trouble

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong both produced two hits, and Michael Wacha authored a solid outing on the mound, as the Cardinals took a 6-4 victory over the Astros on Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.

Wacha got the better of another second-year pitcher, Houston's Jarred Cosart, as he made his third start of the spring in pursuit of a rotation spot. Last year's National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out five.

Cosart struck out the side in the first inning, but the Cardinals got to him in the second. Matt Adams singled, Yadier Molina walked and Wong legged out a bunt to load the bases. Xavier Scruggs forced in a run with a walk, and one out later, Pete Kozma drove in another with a fielder's choice. Carpenter capped the scoring with an RBI single.

St. Louis struck again in the fourth, as Wong lashed a triple over leaping center fielder Dexter Fowler before coming home on Scruggs' line-drive double to left. Randal Grichuk then launched a deep fly ball to center, but this time Fowler made a highlight catch as he crashed into the wall more than 400 feet away. Two batters later, Carpenter stretched the lead to 5-0 with an RBI double down the right-field line off lefty reliever Raul Valdes.

Wong, who started the spring 0-for-10, is now 9-for-17 over his past five games.

Cosart ran his pitch count up to 74 in 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits, with two walks and four strikeouts.

The Astros scored four runs against Cardinals relievers in the seventh, putting a runner on base via a wild pitch on a strikeout and benefiting from a walk and two errors. Jon Singleton, who snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a home run on Friday, smacked a two-run triple into the right-center field gap, and Matt Dominguez hit an RBI infield single.

Jose Altuve added two hits for Houston, upping his spring average to .321.

Up next: The Astros will travel to Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday to take on the Tigers in a 12:05 p.m. CT game that will be available live on Gameday Audio. Rotation candidate Lucas Harrell will make his fourth start of the spring after holding the Nationals to one run on two hits over four innings on Monday, dropping his Grapefruit League ERA to 3.00. Fellow right-handers Josh Zeid, Matt Albers, Chad Qualls and Peter Moylan will be among those available in relief.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.