After beginning their road trip with an offensive showcase, the St. Louis Cardinals found offense hard to come by against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
The Cards may not need too many runs to earn a split of their two-game set against the Cubs with Jake Westbrook and his MLB-leading earned run average set to take the hill in Wednesday's finale.
The veteran right-hander is 2-1 on the year through five starts with an outstanding 1.07 ERA. He has allowed one run or fewer in four of his outings and has gone at least six innings each time. Westbrook is coming off a victory in Milwaukee on Thursday -- the 100th of his career -- as he held the Brewers to a run on six hits and three walks over six innings.
Westbrook picked up his first win since a five-hit shutout of the Cincinnati Reds on April 10, but felt he was lucky to get the victory.
"Made some mistakes and got away with some things, to be honest with you," the 35-year-old told the Cards' website. "A lot of hard-hit balls that were hit right at guys that could have made it a different ballgame. Like I said, I got away with some stuff, but that's baseball sometimes."
Westbrook is 5-2 in his career versus the Cubs despite a 4.14 ERA in eight starts.
The Cardinals plated 24 runs during a four-game sweep of the Brewers, but were held to just Allen Craig's second-inning solo homer in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Cubs.
Lance Lynn took a tough-luck loss, his first of the season, as he allowed four hits and fanned eight over seven frames. The lone dent was Nate Schierholtz's two-run homer in the fourth.
"We had guys in scoring position. We've been talking about how those situations that haven't been that frequent. Tonight it didn't happen. Sometimes you have those kind of nights," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
The Cardinals had a six-game winning streak stopped and lost for the first time in their past eight on the road.
Alfonso Soriano had two hits and was on base when Schierholtz went deep, while Travis Wood gave up just the run and five hits with eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 frames.
"He's been one of the best starters in baseball so far, he's got it figured out," Cubs manager Dave Sveum said of Wood. "He's been able to pitch to both side of the plate. He can do pretty much whatever he wants with ball right now."
Carlos Villanueva has begun to cool off since his quick start to the season and the Cubs hope that the righty can rebound on Wednesday afternoon.
Villanueva began the season 1-0 with a 1.53 ERA through his first four outings, but has lost consecutive starts while allowing four runs in each. That has bumped his ERA up to 2.85.
The right-hander lasted a season-low 5 2/3 innings versus the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, giving up seven hits and a pair of walks in the 6-5 setback.
Villanueva, 29, has faced the Cardinals 25 times over his career with seven starts. In that time he is 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA.
The Cardinals were 10-7 versus the Cubs last season, winning seven of the final 10 meetings, but lost five of nine in Chicago.