Sports

D-backs face stiff test against Cardinals

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Arizona Diamondbacks kick off their six-game road trip at Busch Stadium on Monday afternoon when they open a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Arizona (21-22) is in the middle of the pack in the National League West but comes into this game with a full head of steam, having won six of seven.

The Diamondbacks are coming off Sunday's 4-3, series-clinching victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Paul Goldschmidt drove in three runs, including a two-run home run in the decisive third inning to back Jeremy Hellickson, who went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits. Goldschmidt hit 5-for-10 with two homers during the three-game set.

"I just try to hit it and keep it simple, and hopefully they don't catch it. I've been feeling pretty good the past week or so," he said.

Also on Sunday, Nick Ahmed extended his hit streak to nine games with his first career triple.

This marks the start of a nine-game homestand for St. Louis. The National League Central Division-leading Cardinals snapped a three-game slide on Sunday with a 6-1 victory over the Royals in Kansas City.

Michael Wacha became the first NL pitcher to seven wins, as he gave up only an unearned run on five hits in seven innings of work.

"Every time (Wacha) goes out there, you feel like you're going to win the game," teammate Matt Carpenter said. "That's a good place to be. That's a place (Adam) Wainwright was in when he was here and healthy."

Jhonny Peralta and Matt Adams each delivered RBI hits in the first inning to stake Wacha an early lead, and Carpenter later tacked on some insurance with a two-run homer.

Carlos Martinez gets the call for St. Louis on Monday. The right-hander twirled 6 1/3 shutout innings against the New York Mets on Wednesday to improve to 4-2. Martinez allowed four hits while striking out five and walking two.

Arizona's Chase Anderson has allowed one run or fewer in four straight starts as he has dropped his ERA to 2.54. Despite that recent success, he did not notch his first victory of the season until this past Wednesday in Miami when he tossed eight innings of one-run ball against the Marlins.

"He's mixed his pitches and commanded both sides of the plate. He does all the little things well," manager Chip Hale said of Anderson. "Is his stuff electric? It's pretty good. I don't think people give him enough credit for having good stuff. I've seen him throw fastballs by really good hitters."

Anderson has never faced St. Louis in his career. In fact, Jason Heyward (0- for-3) is the only current Cardinals player he has ever faced.

This is the first time these teams are facing each other this season. The Cardinals won five of six meetings last season.