The St. Louis Cardinals opened a lengthy homestand on a positive note and look for a series win over the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight with Adam Wainwright on the mound.
Wainwright is 3-0 with a 1.84 earned run average in his last four starts and is coming off last Thursday's 3-1 win over San Francisco in which he held the visitors to a run in seven innings with seven strikeouts. Wainwright evened his record at 10-10 in 23 starts and lowered his ERA to 3.90.
The right-hander is 7-5 in 13 home starts this season and 4-3 with a 2.48 ERA in nine career games, six of which have been starts, against Arizona.
In last night's 8-2 win over the D-backs in the opener of this three-game series, Cardinals starter Joe Kelly was solid through 6 1/3 innings, allowing a pair of runs with six Ks and two walks. Relievers Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and Fernando Salas held Arizona scoreless the rest of the way.
"He had good stuff," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Kelly. "He had a really good tempo working, nice change-up, fastball got better as he went."
Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer and Jon Jay added a solo shot for the Cardinals, who have won seven of their last 11 games and sit one game off the Wild Card lead in the National League. The defending champion Cardinals will also host Pittsburgh and Houston at Busch Stadium.
Holliday has homered twice in his last three games (5 RBI) and is second in the NL with 81 runs batted in. His teammate, Carlos Beltran, is first with 83 RBI.
Arizona lost for the seventh time in 10 tries Tuesday and was hoping for a strong showing from Ian Kennedy. However, the right-hander gave up five runs -- three earned -- and six hits in six innings to suffer the loss. Bryan Shaw was reached for three runs in relief.
"He's not throwing the ball exactly like he was last year and he's having a little different luck," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Kennedy on the club's website "Maybe not quite as much life on his ball, but he's learning how to deal with that."
Miguel Montero homered and Justin Upton posted a team-high two hits for the Diamondbacks, who are 5 1/2 games off the NL West lead and six games out in the Wild Card standings.
The D-backs, who will visit Houston for three games after this set, are slated to send Joe Saunders to the mound Wednesday. Saunders ended a two-game slide his last time out, a 6-3 win at Pittsburgh last Thursday in which he yielded three runs -- two earned -- in seven innings.
Saunders, who was 1-4 in five decisions before defeating the Pirates, improved to 6-8 in 19 starts to go along with a 3.52 earned run average. The left- hander lost to St. Louis on May 7, when he allowed seven runs -- six earned -- and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 9-6 loss. He is 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in two career starts in this series.
St. Louis swept a three-game series from the Diamondbacks back in early May at Chase Field and is unbeaten in the past six meetings between the teams.