HOUSTON (Ticker) --
moved a step closer to burying the St. Louis Cardinals for good.
Miller pitched six strong innings and knocked in a career-high four runs, leading the Astros to a 14-5 rout of the Cardinals in the opener of a crucial three-game series between the National League Central Division rivals.
Needing a win to remain in sole possession of first place, the Astros scored in each of the first six innings to build a commanding 14-2 lead.
Miller had plenty to do with the lead, delivering an RBI double in the second, bouncing into a forceout in the third to plate a run and driving in two more runs with a double in the fourth.
Miller (13-12) was just as effective on the mound. The righthander allowed two runs and two hits, working around four walks and striking out five.
matched a career high with four hits and
drove in three runs for the Astros, who remained one game in front of the
The Astros had hits from every starter, establishing a season high with 19.
St. Louis fell 3 1/2 games behind Houston with 21 games remaining. The Cards play the Astros five more times in the next nine days.
(15-9) could not have picked a worse time for his worst start of the season. The righthander was ripped for nine runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.