Adam Wainwright will try to become the first National League pitcher with 11 wins when he leads the St. Louis Cardinals into the finale of a three-game series versus the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium.
Wainwright and teammate Lance Lynn both have 10 wins and the former is trying to erase a rough start the last time out. Wainwright had won five straight starts until a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, as he gave up four runs and seven hits, including two home runs, in seven innings.
The right-hander dropped to 10-4 in 15 starts and still has a respectable earned run average of 2.37. Wainwright has lasted at least seven innings in six straight outings and is 3-3 in six trips to the Busch Stadium mound. He has never faced the Rangers in his career.
St. Louis will need Wainwright to play stopper after losing the first two installments of this series. In Saturday's 4-2 loss, Cardinals starter Shelby Miller didn't bring his best stuff and allowed all four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"You just got to tip your cap to an offensive lineup like that," said Miller. "They're a good team over there, and you can't make too many mistakes with them."
Allen Craig drove in a run and both Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran collected two hits in defeat. Beltran scored the game's first run on a Craig single in the bottom of the first inning.
The Cardinals, who lost Friday's opener by a 6-4 score and have dropped three of four games, are 3-3 on a seven-game homestand. Their lead atop the NL Central standings has been trimmed to two games ahead of Pittsburgh.
St. Louis will start an eight-game road trip Tuesday against Houston, Oakland and the LA Angels.
Texas has climbed its way to the top of the AL West standings and is tied with the Oakland Athletics for division bragging rights.
The Rangers recorded their fourth straight win and fifth in six tries with Saturday's victory and received two-run homers from A.J. Pierzynski and Nelson Cruz. Cruz put the Rangers ahead for good in Friday's win.
Martin Perez drew the start for manager Ron Washington's club and provided seven innings of two-run ball for the win. Perez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock earlier in the day to make his eighth career start.
"I've always seen the stuff, but this is the first time he's shown he's a big league pitcher," Washington said.
Tanner Scheppers tossed a scoreless eighth and Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth to notch his 24th save.
The Rangers will visit the New York Yankees next on this road trip.
Texas will send rookie Nick Tepesch to the hill Sunday and he is winless (0-3) in his previous six appearances. Tepesch lasted only 3 2/3 innings in Monday's 8-7 win over Oakland and did not receive a decision after surrendering six runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Tepesch is 3-6 in 13 starts to go along with a 4.84 earned run average and hasn't tasted victory since May 12 at Houston. The right-hander has never faced the Cardinals and is 2-3 in six road assignments.
St. Louis and Texas are meeting in the regular season for the first time since the Cardinals took two of three in Arlington back in 2004. The Cardinals, of course, defeated the Rangers in the 2011 World Series.