With seven wins in their last eight contests, the St. Louis Cardinals have caught up with the Pittsburgh Pirates atop the NL Central. Now, the Cardinals aim to complete a four-game sweep against another division leader, the Atlanta Braves.
Lance Lynn gets the opportunity to complete the whitewash Sunday afternoon as the right-hander hopes to break a three-start winless stretch. Lynn is 0-2 in that span, including a loss Tuesday at Milwaukee where he allowed nine hits and six runs -- four earned -- in six innings.
Lynn sports an 8-2 record this year at Busch Stadium. He's 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against the Braves.
The NL East leaders, who are 12 games clear of second-place Washington, will send surging lefty Mike Minor to the mound. Minor is 3-0 over his last five starts, but he had the shortest start of his career in his most recent outing, Aug. 17 against the Nationals. Minor allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings in the no-decision.
He's 1-0 with a 5.94 ERA in three starts versus the Cardinals.
The three straight losses by the Braves are one off a season high. Last night, Carlos Beltran and Matt Carpenter hit solo homers and Shelby Miller tossed seven solid innings for the Cards in a 6-2 final.
Beltran went 3-for-5 with two RBI for the Cardinals, who have won four in a row. Matt Holliday knocked in two runs and scored once, while Yadier Molina had an RBI.
"Right now we're playing good baseball," Beltran said. "We're pitching well, we're getting hits with guys in scoring position. We're playing good defense. That's how we played earlier in the year. We're just happy to be able to play like that again."
Miller (12-8) allowed one run on three hits while striking out six.
Freddie Freeman hit a solo homer for the Braves.
Atlanta starter Julio Teheran (10-7) gave up four runs on five hits while striking out eight and walking five over six-plus frames.
"We have to start swinging the bats," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We have to keep the line moving offensively. I think our pitching will be fine, but we have to start swinging the bats again."
Atlanta swept the Cardinals July 26-28 at Turner Field in a three-game set and will try to avoid getting swept in four games at St. Louis for the first time since April 26-29, 2010.