The National League Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals are back in the Gateway City and will begin a 10-game homestand Friday with the first of three straight games versus the Colorado Rockies.
The Cardinals, who are three games ahead of Cincinnati for the division lead, split a two-game series against the Chicago Cubs and recorded a 5-4 win in Wednesday's finale at Wrigley Field. Jon Jay's RBI single in the top of the eighth inning put St. Louis ahead for good and gave the club its seventh win in the past eight tries.
Jay had two RBI and Carlos Beltran ended 3-for-5 with two runs batted in for the Cardinals, who went 5-1 on a road trip through Milwaukee and Chicago. Jake Westbrook started for St. Louis and did not figure into the decision after he gave up four runs -- three earned -- in 5 1/3 innings.
"Different guys picked us up," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I love those wins."
Seth Maness got the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief and Edward Mujica later nailed down his ninth save in the ninth.
Shelby Miller draws the start for the Cardinals Friday and he is 4-2 with a 1.96 earned run average in six starts. The promising right-hander was solid in his latest outing, a 6-1 win at Milwaukee in which he delivered six innings of one-run ball and five strikeouts. Miller has never faced the Rockies and has alternated wins and losses in his last five starts.
Colorado will start a six-game road trip against the Cardinals and Cubs Friday, and has lost two in a row and four of six contests.
After taking the opener of a three-game series versus the New York Yankees, the Rockies dropped the last two installments at Coors Field, including Thursday's 3-1 loss in the series finale. Jeff Francis pitched well in defeat, as he surrendered two runs in four innings.
"Pitching was outstanding. Offense was definitely subpar, not acceptable," said Colorado manager Walt Weiss.
Carlos Gonzalez had the lone RBI for Colorado.
Jon Garland gets the nod for the Rockies Friday and he is 3-2 with a 4.75 earned run average in six starts. He ended a personal two-start slide his last time out in a 9-3 win over Tampa Bay and was reached for three runs in five innings. Garland, a right-hander in his first stint with Colorado, hasn't fared too well against St. Louis, going 1-5 with a 5.79 ERA in six starts.
The Rockies and Cardinals are meeting for the first time this season. St. Louis won five of the seven matchups last season.