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Cards hope to lock up series win over Pirates

(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Cardinals are having a flare for the dramatic and all the Pittsburgh Pirates can do is watch.

The Cardinals target a series win over the NL Central-rival Pirates Wednesday in the third installment of a four-game set at Busch Stadium.

Matt Adams belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth of Monday's 2-0 victory, then it was Kolten Wong's turn Tuesday. Wong broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth with a two-out solo home run for the hosts and finished with two hits and three RBI.

"When I hit it, I knew it was gone," Wong said of his clutch hit off Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri. "For a moment I forgot to run. Just excited to get home and be the guy jumping into the dog pile. It's something I'll always remember."

Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta and Oscar Taveras ended with two hits apiece and helped the Cardinals pull within three games off the Milwaukee Brewers for first in the NL Central. Pittsburgh is 3 1/2 games behind the Brewers, who have lost three in a row.

Carlos Martinez started on the mound for St. Louis last night and was reached for four and eight hits in six innings. Wong's home run made a winner out of Trevor Rosenthal, who worked around a hit and a walk in the ninth.

The Cardinals, winners in five of seven games, announced that Jaime Garcia will undergo season-ending surgery due to thoracic outlet syndrome (shoulder), the same procedure former ace Chris Carpenter had back in 2012. The left- handed Garcia went 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA in seven starts.

Lance Lynn is one of the healthy St. Louis starters and draws the start Wednesday. Lynn threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in last Friday's 3-2 win over Miami, struck out six and walked three. Lynn was blasted for seven runs (6 earned) in his previous start June 28 at Los Angeles.

Lynn has alternated results in the past six trips to the hill and is 9-6 with a 3.17 earned run average. The right-hander is 5-2 in nine home starts and 7-2 in 12 appearances at night. Lynn has faced Pittsburgh 12 times (10 starts) in his career and owns a 4-3 record with a 5.13 ERA. He lost at Pittsburgh back on May 10 in a 4-3 setback, allowing all four runs in six innings.

Pittsburgh will try to avoid its first three-game slide since June 15-18 when they gets back to work Wednesday.

Justin Wilson gave up Adams' home run on Monday and Frieri was the mound victim in last night's loss. Vance Worley allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings, while Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen each hit two-run homers for the Pirates, who are still 12-5 in the last 17 games.

"It's not the first time we've had two tough losses and it probably won't be the last time," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "One swing of the bat changed the game. You shower up and get ready to play tomorrow."

The Pirates have lost three in a row on the road and had prevailed in five straight series as the visitor.

In the last 29 games, Pittsburgh starting pitchers have combined to go 15-6 and it will be Brandon Cumpton's turn in the rotation on Wednesday. Cumpton was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis when Gerrit Cole was activated off the disabled list, but is now replacing an injured Cole.

Cumpton pitched against Louisville on July 4 and was reached for four runs, three of which were earned, and eight hits in six innings of a 7-6 loss in 11 innings. He is 3-2 with a 4.61 earned run average in nine starts this season and unbeaten (3-0) in the past five outings. In a 3-2 win over the New York Mets on June 27, Cumpton tossed seven innings of two-run ball in a no- decision. He has allowed two runs over 14 innings in his last two games.

The right-hander won his only start against St. Louis last July 30, when he fired seven scoreless innings of a 6-0 win at PNC Park.

St. Louis is 6-5 against Pittsburgh this season and each of the last five games in this series has been decided by two runs or less.

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