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The St. Louis Cardinals knew months ago they were the focus of a federal investigation over an alleged security breach of a computer network belonging to the Houston Astros and hired a law firm to conduct an internal investigation that is ongoing, team officials said Wednesday.

"These are serious allegations that don't reflect who we are as an organization," Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement. "We are committed to getting to the bottom of this matter as soon as possible, and if anyone within our organization is determined to be involved in anything inappropriate, they will be held accountable."

According to DeWitt, the Cardinals knew "several months ago" they were the focus of an FBI and U.S. Justice Department investigation into the alleged hacking of the Astros' servers for internal information about trades, statistics and scouting reports.

The computer system was built by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who ran a similar program when he worked in the Cardinals front office from 2003-11.

According to the New York Times, which broke the story Tuesday, investigators believe Cardinals personnel were able to access the Astros' system by using passwords previously employed by Luhnow when he was working for the Cardinals.

The Astros acknowledged last June that they had been victimized by hackers and contacted Major League Baseball, which notified the FBI. The team was made aware of the alleged hack after internal documents showing front office communications were posted online.

DeWitt said the Cardinals hired former U.S. attorney Jim Martin and the law firm Dowd Bennett "to assist the team in providing requested information to the federal government and to conduct an internal inquiry to attempt to identify any employee that may have engaged in the alleged conduct."

"The alleged conduct has no place in our game," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. "We hold ourselves to the highest standards in every facet of our organization. It has been that way forever and is certainly true today. We are committed to finding out what happened.

"To the extent we can substantiate that these allegations have merit, we will take appropriate action against anyone involved."

Martin said the internal investigation is not complete. He told The Associated Press he is "100 percent confident that this does not touch upper management and does not involve people like John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt."

The St. Louis Cardinals aim to bounce back when they target a series win over the Minnesota Twins Thursday at Target Field.

The Cardinals won the first two meetings with the Twins at Busch Stadium and were riding a five-game winning streak until Wednesday's 3-1 loss.

Carlos Martinez pitched well in defeat and gave up two runs -- one earned -- and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three in falling to 7-3 on the season.

"He kept us in the game," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "We've got to score more runs."

Jason Heyward had two hits and drove in the Cards' lone run with an RBI single in the top of the second inning.

St. Louis saw its lead atop the NL Central drop to four games ahead of streaking Pittsburgh, which has won eight in a row. The Cardinals will visit Philadelphia and Miami next on this sojourn.

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