St. Louis Cardinals (26-21) at Cincinnati Reds (21-24), 7:10 p.m. (ET)


The Sports Network

( - The St. Louis Cardinals have a good shot at staying on track with Shelby Miller slated to take the mound in Friday's opener of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals just posted a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and have won eight of their last 10 games to pull within 1 1/2 games of Milwaukee for the NL Central's top spot.

St. Louis has won each of Miller's previous five starts and he lasted a season-high seven innings in Saturday's 4-1 victory over Atlanta. Miller permitted one unearned run and five hits, struck out seven batters and walked two. He is now 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA in nine outings.

Miller, a right-hander, is 3-1 in five road starts this season and lost to Cincinnati on April 9 in a 4-0 defeat, as he gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings.

In four career starts against the Reds, Miller is 1-1 with a 3.57 earned run average.

The Cardinals went 7-2 on their recent homestand and completed the sweep of the Diamondbacks with Thursday's 4-2 win thanks to late-game hits from Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter. Craig scored Matt Holliday with the go-ahead run in the seventh and Carpenter posted an insurance run with an RBI single in the eighth.

Shane Robinson finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and both Craig and Jhonny Peralta added two hits for the Cardinals. Lance Lynn threw six innings of two-run ball in the no-decision and Pat Neshek tossed the next two innings for the win. Trevor Rosenthal posted his 14th save with a scoreless ninth.

"You don't ever expect to be right around .500 with this club we have," said Lynn. "For us to come in at home on our first true homestand of the year and go like this, it's good for us."

Cincinnati just went 3-3 on a recent road trip to Philadelphia and Washington, and won two of three against the Nationals.

The Reds won the rubber match by a 2-1 score on Wednesday and used a two-run fourth inning to stay ahead for good. Brandon Phillips and Brayan Pena both stroked run-scoring singles in the frame, while Zack Cozart posted three hits and Alfredo Simon pitched seven strong innings for his sixth win (6-2).

Simon held the Nationals to a run on Denard Span's home run in the first inning, struck out six batters and walked one.

"Anytime you lead off the game with a home run, you usually think it's probably going to be a good day for the offense," said Span. "But you've got to give credit to Simon. He shut the door down, made good pitches."

Jonathan Broxton threw a scoreless eighth inning and hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman pinned down his third save in the ninth.

Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, who underwent knee surgery on May 5, was activated from the disabled list but did not play. Bruce could return Friday and took the place of Joey Votto, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a distal quadriceps strain.

Bruce is one home run shy of 100 at Great American Ball Park.

Homer Bailey will make his 10th start of the season for the Reds Friday and is coming off Saturday's 12-1 loss at Philadelphia in which he was reached for six runs and seven hits in a season-low 3 2/3 innings. Bailey, a right-hander, has been reached for 18 runs in his last five appearances.

Bailey was 3-1 in his last four decisions and will face the Cardinals for the third time this season (0-1). In 19 career starts against them, Bailey is 5-10 with a 5.01 earned run average.

St. Louis has won four of six meetings with the NL Central-rival Cincinnati this season after going 11-8 in the 2013 series.

Read more Baseball Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • Royals snap skid with 7-1 victory over White Sox

    Dayton Moore tapped his hand against the back of a bench. Seated next to him, Ned Yost kicked his foot up against a nearby railing. Together they sat inside the visitors' dugout at U.S. Cellular Field and watched the latest edition of the Royals take batting practice.

  • Mets down M's, 3-1

    SEATTLE-Erasmo Ramirez finished folding his clothes into his bags. A trip to Tacoma awaited him, but not for the reasons that have previously earned him a demotion to the minor leagues.

  • Lucroy's homer gives Brewers walk-off win vs. Reds

    They hit four solo home runs, two of which came from Jonathan Lucroy, to power a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park.

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category