Pittsburgh Pirates (71-67) at St. Louis Cardinals (75-63), 1:45 p.m. (ET)
09/03/2014 10:28 AM
09/03/2014 10:32 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Cardinals are heating up at the right time and will shoot for a three-game sweep of the NL Central-rival Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals have won four in a row after losing four straight and posted a 6-4 win over the Pirates Tuesday night behind a bounce-back effort from staff ace Adam Wainwright. Wainwright was only 2-4 with a 5.17 earned run average in his previous six starts, but was able to hold on for a win and allowed four runs in six innings to improve to 16-9.
"He gave up a couple of bloops, a couple of two-out hits, where there wasn't any pressure on him," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "For us to put him out there and not have his real good stuff and come out with a win, it's a real good night."
Wainwright also drove in a team-high three runs. Randal Grichuk recorded three hits and Peter Bourjos went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Matt Holliday, who was just named NL Player of the Week, finished 0-for-3 for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, who are two games ahead of Milwaukee and four games in front of Pittsburgh.
St. Louis will start a four-game set with the Brewers at Miller Park on Thursday, followed by a four-game series in Cincinnati.
It's been more than a month since Shelby Miller posted a win and he gets the call Wednesday for the Cardinals. Miller last prevailed on July 31 at San Diego and is 0-1 with a 4.35 earned run average in five starts since then.
Miller pitched well for a no-decision last Friday in a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs and allowed two solo homers in seven innings. The Cubs put up a four-spot in the eighth inning to pull away and Miller remained 8-9 with a 4.19 ERA.
The right-hander hasn't fared well in eight career starts against Pittsburgh, going 2-6 with a 4.98 ERA. Miller is 2-2 in four meetings with the Pirates this season.
Pittsburgh is mired in a three-game losing streak after winning four straight and seven of nine games. In Tuesday's second straight loss to the Cardinals, Jeff Locke couldn't outduel Wainwright and was touched for five runs -- four earned -- over just three innings.
"There wasn't a lot working for him tonight," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Locke. "He wasn't repeating his stroke or working the strike zone. He just couldn't make pitches or find a rhythm,"
Russell Martin and Jordy Mercer both hit solo home runs, while Starling Marte clubbed a two-run shot in defeat. The Pirates have homered in four straight and 10 of their last 11 games, and are fourth in the NL with 131 home runs.
The Pirates sit two games behind the second wild card spot in the NL and are winless in the past three road games. They will also visit Chicago (Cubs) and Philadelphia on this 10-game trek.
Pittsburgh will send Edinson Volquez against St. Louis Wednesday and he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of last Friday's 2-1 win over Cincinnati. Volquez did not figure into the decision and yielded just one run and three hits in 7 1/3 innings. He is unbeaten (3-0) in his last seven starts.
Volquez, who has an 11-7 record with a 3.45 ERA this season, is 4-2 in 11 road assignments. He has faced the Cardinals 14 times in his career, amassing a 4-6 record with a lofty 5.06 ERA against them. Volquez is 1-1 in four starts in this series this season.
St. Louis has a 10-8 record against Pittsburgh in 2014. Wednesday's matchup between the clubs is the last of the regular season.
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