(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball and look to keep it that way Saturday in the middle test of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
The Cardinals pushed their record to 22-7 with Friday's 8-5 win in the series opener and received home runs from Kolten Wong, Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta. Holliday belted a three-run homer in the third inning and Wong clubbed a three-run shot during a four-run seventh.
St. Louis starting pitcher Michael Wacha improved to 5-0 and gave up three runs -- two earned -- in six innings.
"He built off his last game and really had a good feel for his curveball," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Wacha. "When he's able to get that downhill plane with his fastball, that's the key."
Matheny's club has won 10 of 11 games and is scheduled to visit the Cleveland Indians on this six-game trek.
Cards third baseman Matt Carpenter did not travel to Pittsburgh after being diagnosed with "extreme fatigue." The club expects him to return Tuesday.
The Cardinals hope Carlos Martinez can stay unbeaten when he takes the hill Saturday and the right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.64 ERA in six appearances, five of which have been starts.
Martinez avoided the loss column in Monday's 10-9 setback to the Chicago Cubs and lasted only 3 2/3 innings, charged with seven runs and nine hits. He has faced the Pirates 10 times (1 start) in his career and is 0-1 with a 4.41 ERA.
Pittsburgh lost for the eighth time in the last 10 games and couldn't build on Thursday's 7-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Francisco Liriano struggled in his start last night and yielded six runs -- five earned -- and six hits over 6 1/3 innings. He served up two homers, struck out 10 and walked only one batter. Arquimedes Caminero gave up a homer.
"He paid for his mistakes," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Liriano. "The balls that he left in spots, they put the barrel on it."
Starling Marte highlighted the Pittsburgh offense with three hits and an RBI, while Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Cervelli had two hits apiece.
Vance Worley is winless (0-1) in his last two starts and gets the call for the Buccos Saturday night. Worley did not record a decision in Sunday's 3-2 loss at St. Louis and pitched well, allowing only a run and four hits in six innings.
Worley, who is 2-2 with a 3.90 ERA in five starts, has no record and a 4.03 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals.
Pittsburgh was swept in three games at St. Louis from May 1-3.