The St. Louis Cardinals try to inch closer to a playoff spot on Saturday night when they resume a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cardinals overcame some late-inning troubles to secure a 7-6 victory last night in 10 innings. The victory pushed St. Louis two games ahead of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati for first place in the NL Central and gave the Cards a magic number of two to clinch a playoff berth.
The Reds rallied to beat the Pirates on Friday night in the opener of a three- game series between the two current NL wild card holders.
Matt Adams hit a two-run homer off of Milwaukee's Jim Henderson in the top of the ninth for a two-run lead, but Cardinals closer Edward Mujica failed to hold a lead. He gave up a run-scoring single and issued a walk to load the bases before being lifted in favor of John Axford, who was acquired from Milwaukee in a trade last month.
Axford allowed one inherited runner to score before getting a double play to end the inning.
"There was excitement in the dugout right away, no matter what was happening down there. The game was tied in the ninth inning. Once I came in everybody was fired up, ready to go," Axford said.
Carlos Beltran secured St. Louis' third victory in four games with a sac fly in the 10th inning.
The Brewers have lost two in a row following a four-game win streak and have lost 13 of 17 versus the Cardinals this year, going 1-7 at Miller Park.
Back-to-back solid outings has failed to net Lance Lynn a win and he looks to claim his first victory in nearly seven weeks tonight for the Cardinals.
Lynn has dropped five straight decisions over eight starts with a 5.44 earned run average since his last win on Aug. 4. The right-hander has allowed just three runs -- two earned -- over his last two starts, but received a no- decision both times.
That includes Monday in Colorado, where he hurled 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball. Lynn worked around six hits and walked only one, but St. Louis lost 6-2.
The 26-year-old faced the Brewers five days earlier and was charged with one unearned run over six innings with 10 strikeouts. The no-decision left Lynn 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA in nine meetings (5 starts) all-time with the Brewers.
Undefeated for almost two months, Yovani Gallardo hopes that momentum is enough to solve a Cardinals club that has given him fits over his career.
Gallardo is just 1-10 lifetime versus St. Louis, posting a 6.78 ERA in 16 meetings. He has a 7.15 ERA in two contests this year and has not beaten St. Louis since 2011.
The righty, tough, comes into this contest undefeated since a loss on July 25. He is 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in seven outings since, though he needed his offense to bail him out in Sunday's no-decision versus the Reds. Gallardo allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks over six innings.
The 27-year-old Gallardo is 11-9 this year with a 4.29 ERA in 29 starts.