Lance Lynn and the St. Louis Cardinals aim to avoid their first losing streak in over a month on Monday night when they begin a four- game series against another first-place club in the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Cardinals outscored the San Francisco Giants 15-1 in sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday, but couldn't pull off the series sweep as they dropped Sunday's finale 4-2.
Tyler Lyons was charged with all four runs allowed in the loss and he put two runners on base in the seventh inning before reliever Randy Choate yielded a go-ahead pinch-hit double to the Giants' Brandon Belt.
"I was inconsistent kind of from the beginning," Lyons admitted. "I didn't have great fastball command."
David Freese had tied the game with a two-run homer in the fourth inning, extending his hitting streak to a career high-tying 12 straight games. He has hit .357 over the run with three homers and 13 RBI, pushing his season average up to .256.
Manager Mike Matheny and catcher Yadier Molina were not in the dugout to see Freese's homer after the two were ejected at the end of the third inning. Molina spiked his helmet after getting called out at first base on a close play, leading to his ejection, and Matheny was tossed after coming out to argue.
St. Louis had won six of seven before the setback and has not lost two in a row since a three-game slide from April 27-29. The Cardinals now turn to Lance Lynn, who is among the league leader in wins.
Lynn is 7-1 with a 2.91 earned run average through 11 starts this year and is 2-0 over his last four outings. However, the right-hander did not factor into a 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday after giving up two runs over seven innings.
Lynn, 26, struggled in his season debut at Arizona on April 3, giving up four runs over four innings of a no-decision. He is 1-0 lifetime versus the Diamondbacks with a 3.00 ERA in four meetings (2 starts).
Lynn has helped the Cardinals to a major league-leading 37-19 record as well as a 2 1/2-game edge over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati for first place in the NL Central.
Arizona, meanwhile, is 2 1/2 games up on Colorado and San Francisco for the top spot in the NL West and has won five of its past seven games. The Diamondbacks have been keyed by starter Patrick Corbin, who became baseball's first nine-game winner with Sunday's 8-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Corbin picked up his seventh straight winning start despite allowing more than three earned runs in a start for the first time this season. He was charged with four runs over six innings, but joined Brandon Webb as the only Diamondbacks in club history to begin a season 9-0.
Wil Nieves helped out his pitcher by notching three hits and driving in two runs, while Gerardo Parra and Cody Ross also ended with two RBI.
"Right now I'm just having fun," Nieves said. "I'm glad that I can help the team. I'm just glad and blessed that I can do it with the bat."
With his scheduled start pushed back a day due to a rain out on Wednesday, Trevor Cahill toes the rubber tonight for Arizona.
The second-year Diamondback matched a season high with eight innings of work on Monday versus Texas, but did not factor into a 5-4 win as his club swept a Memorial Day doubleheader. The right-hander was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and two walks.
Cahill is 3-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 11 starts this season and that includes a home loss to the Cardinals on April 2. In his season debut, Cahill yielded three runs over 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.
The 25-year-old is 0-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three lifetime meetings.
The Diamondbacks have won three of their past four versus the Cardinals following a seven-game series losing streak. They have lost four of their past five in St. Louis.