Shelby Miller is off to a spectacular start in what the St. Louis right-hander hopes will be his first full season in the majors.
Miller takes the mound this afternoon hoping to avenge his only loss of 2013 when the Cardinals play the rubber match of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On April 17 at PNC Park, Miller didn't get any offensive support and lost the Pirates, 5-0. He gave up only six hits and a pair of runs over six innings.
Aside from that start, Miller has given up a total of only two earned runs in his other three combined appearances. On Monday, he gave up only three hits over 6 2/3 innings in a win at Washington.
In two starts at Busch Stadium, Miller has pitched 13 innings and has yielded just one hit in each game with no walks and 15 strikeouts.
Jeff Locke gave up only two hits in six scoreless innings at Philadelphia in a win on Tuesday. The lefty, who faces the Cardinals for the first time in his career, has won each of his last two decisions since losing his first start at Dodger Stadium on April 7.
Saturday, Russell Martin hit a two-run homer as part of a four-run seventh inning, as Pittsburgh rallied to steal a 5-3 victory. Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones drove in the other two runs in the seventh for the Pirates, who have won four of five.
A.J. Burnett (2-2) gave up two runs on five hits and struck out six over six frames and still picked up the win despite walking three batters.
"We thought we'd get seven or eight innings out of him and we got six," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He didn't give in and continued to fight and left the game where we were in a position to still compete."
Carlos Beltran had two hits, including an RBI double, while Pete Kozma also drove in a run for the Cardinals, who had a four-game winning streak come to an end.
Starter Jake Westbrook didn't yield a run over six innings and struck out six, but is still searching for his 100th career win. Reliever Joe Kelly (0-1) was tagged for four runs on three hits and a blown save in one-third of an inning in the setback.
"It stinks for Jake. He pitched his butt off," Kelly said. "That's the most frustrating part."
St. Louis and Pittsburgh just split a shortened three-game series over a week ago at PNC Park. The middle contest was postponed for inclement weather.