“That's a super aggressive team over there,” Montgomery said. “I wanted to set the tone for the guys.”
St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol was pleased with the left-hander's performance.
“He established that sinker and imposed his will on those guys," Marmol said. "It was a really good outing. He stepped up and did it.”
Paul DeJong homered for St. Louis in its return after splitting two games against the Chicago Cubs in London over the weekend. Nolan Arenado had two hits, including an RBI double.
It was the first meeting between the teams since St. Louis dropped two of three against Houston in July 2019.
Martin Maldonado homered for Houston, which dropped to 7-14 in its last 21 games. Framber Valdez (7-6) was charged with four runs and eight hits in six innings.
“DeJong hurt us,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “Their pitcher hurt us. He kept the ball down. He got double plays when he needed it and kept his pitch count down. We just came up short.”
Houston led 2-0 before DeJong hit a leadoff drive in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
“We got some timely hits and kept the pressure on,” DeJong said. “He hung a curveball to me there in my first at-bat and I was able to get the barrel to it. With the bases loaded in the fourth, he attacked me with a couple of fastballs and I put a good swing on one to right-center. Overall, a good day for us.”
St. Louis went ahead to stay with two more runs in the fifth. Arenado doubled home Paul Goldschmidt, took third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch.
Arenado was called out at the plate, but the Cardinals challenged and it was overturned by a replay review.
“I had a good jump and I saw the ball get away and I went for it," Arenado said. “I didn't feel anything so I let them know to challenge.”
Valdez struck out six and walked three. He was 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his previous six starts.
Montgomery (5-7) permitted six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He left with the bases loaded, and Giovanny Gallegos retired pinch-hitter Bligh Madris on a fly ball to left for the final out of the seventh.
“I had all the faith in the world there in Gio,” Montgomery said.
Jordan Hicks earned his fifth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Astros produced an unearned run in the first when Mauricio Dubón scored on a fielder’s choice. Maldonado led off the third with his fifth homer.
ROOKIE HITTING STREAK
St. Louis rookie Jordan Walker extended his hitting streak to 16 games. It is the majors' longest active hitting streak.
Cardinals: Returned C Iván Herrera to Triple-A Memphis. He was added to the roster Saturday as the 27th player from the taxi squad.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve (right heel soreness) missed his second game since getting hurt Saturday against the Dodgers. He took part in pregame drills and is expected to play Wednesday. ... RHP José Urquidy (right shoulder inflammation) threw 25 pitches in the bullpen before the game. He will throw one more bullpen before he throws to hitters.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (right hip tightness), who was scratched from his scheduled start in London, is scheduled to start Saturday against the Yankees. ... OF Tyler O’Neill (lower back strain) has resumed baseball activities. He is expected to begin a rehab assignment next week. ... LHP Packy Naughton (forearm strain) underwent season-ending surgery to repair the flexor tendon Monday.
Astros: RHP Cristian Javier (7-1, 3.25 ERA) is set to make his first career start against the Cardinals on Wednesday. In his last start against the Mets, Javier surrendered a career-high five walks while allowing four runs through 2 1/3 innings.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (4-5, 4.23) is facing the Astros for the first time since 2014 when he was with Texas. In his last outing, he suffered 3-0 loss to Washington at Nationals Park, losing his fourth straight decision in the month of June.
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