Cards try to stay hot against struggling Phillies

The St. Louis Cardinals will shoot for another win against the sliding Philadelphia Phillies, as the clubs meet Wednesday for the middle test of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

The NL Central leaders picked up their fourth win in five games in the opener of this set on Tuesday, earning a 4-1 decision to send the Phillies to their third straight loss.

The victory allowed St. Louis to remain 1 1/2 games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates for first place in the division.

Shelby Miller tossed six solid innings to lead the Cardinals to victory in the series opener. Miller (10-6) yielded just three hits and a walk with six strikeouts for the Cardinals.

"He had great fastball command out there tonight," said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny about Miller. "He threw some great breaking balls early in the count and his changeup was the best it looked all season."

Allen Craig went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored for the Cardinals (60-37), who became the first team in the National League to reach 60 wins. Edward Mujica surrendered two hits in the ninth inning before settling down to record his 29th save of the season.

The Phillies managed seven hits on Tuesday, but John Mayberry drove in the club's only run of the game with an RBI double in the seventh. Jonathan Pettibone (5-4) was touched for three runs on seven hits in five innings to take the loss.

"I ran into trouble with some balls up in the zone," said Pettibone. "But there were some positives tonight and I just want to build off that and look forward to my next start."

Cardinals hurler Jake Westbrook will try to record his fourth straight quality start when he takes the ball for St. Louis tonight.

Westbrook is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA in three July starts and is coming off Friday's win over San Diego. The right-hander surrendered two runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings of work against the Padres and the victory improved his season record to 6-4.

The 35-year-old Westbrook has seen action in six career games -- all starts -- against the Phillies and is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA in those tilts. He logged a no-decision in Philadelphia on April 21 after allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings of work.

Meanwhile, John Lannan has been a workhorse for Philadelphia over his last two starts and he'll try to go deep into another game tonight.

Lannan has gone eight innings in each of his past two trips to the mound, winning his start on July 8 against Washington before getting a no-decision in his last outing on July 13 versus the Chicago White Sox. He surrendered a total of one run over those two starts and lowered his season ERA from 5.15 to 3.76 in the process.

Lannan surrendered just one run and four hits while striking out three and walking one in Philly's 2-1 win over the White Sox.

The veteran lefty is just 2-2 in seven career starts against St. Louis, but is also sporting a 2.53 ERA against the Cards.

The Phillies and Cardinals split a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park from April 18-21 and Philadelphia claimed five of the seven meetings during the 2012 season.