Villanueva makes another start for Cubs against Cards

Dominican right-hander Carlos Villanueva makes a second straight appearance in the Chicago rotation on Friday afternoon when the Cubs host the St. Louis Cardinals in game two of a four-game series at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs broke out on top of the series on Thursday, when Edwin Jackson spun seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 triumph.

Jackson (6-10) scattered just three hits without surrendering a walk for the first time all year. It was Jackson's third straight win.

"Things have been coming together for him," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "He was obviously sharp against the best lineup in baseball."

Anthony Rizzo drove in all three runs while Starlin Castro had three hits and scored twice for the Cubs, who have won five of their last six games.

Jake Westbrook (5-4) had an effective outing, but the Cardinals offense was nowhere to be found. He yielded three runs on seven hits and four walks over seven frames.

"I wasn't as sharp tonight as I have been," said Westbrook. "But I thought I battled pretty hard and was able to keep it close and give us a chance."

Allen Craig registered two of the four hits for St. Louis, which had a five- game win streak snapped.

Villanueva, who's made nine starts in 23 appearances this season, had pitched in relief for six weeks before going four innings in a start of what turned out to be an 11-inning defeat of the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 7.

He allowed a run on three hits against the Pirates and is 2-0 with a 4.01 earned run average in his last four starts against St. Louis.

He's 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA this season in 14 day games, which have included six starts, and he last faced the Cardinals on May 8, when he dropped a 5-4 verdict after allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings.

"You always don't dwell too much about (returning to the rotation)," Villanueva said. "(I've) got to get people out whenever you put me in."

For St. Louis, righty Joe Kelly gets his third start in his 24th appearance of the season.

The 25-year-old's last decision came June 5 against Arizona, when he allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 10-3 loss to the Diamondbacks.

In six appearances since, in which the Cardinals have gone 1-5, Kelly has allowed 15 hits and five runs across 19 innings of work.

Over three career meetings with the Cubs, he is 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA in nine full innings, with the last meeting coming in the form of one scoreless relief inning on June 18.

The Cardinals have won one of the last 10 games in which he's pitched.

St. Louis won three out of four when these teams met in Missouri from June 17-20.