Cardinals-Diamondbacks Preview

A series against the MLB-leading St. Louis Cardinals has come at a bad time for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had been trying to close the gap in the NL West.

The Diamondbacks hope to bounce back with a rare victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night, though Jaime Garcia will be looking to win his fifth straight start against them.

Arizona (62-62) charged into this four-game series by hitting .322 with eight homers while totaling 26 runs during a four-game sweep at Cincinnati.

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The Diamondbacks couldn't sustain that pace in Monday's 5-3 loss to St. Louis (79-45), failing to trim their division deficit to 4 1/2 games behind the idle Los Angeles Dodgers.

David Peralta had four hits and Welington Castillo homered for the second straight game, but Arizona left 11 runners on base and grounded into four double plays in its fifth straight loss to the Cardinals.

"We had our chances," manager Chip Hale said. "We did a great job of getting guys in scoring position and some of our good RBI guys coming up in (Paul Goldschmidt) and (Aaron) Hill. We just hit into some double plays."

Arizona has scored three runs or less seven times while winning only once in 10 meetings with St. Louis over the past two seasons. It isn't likely to get any easier against Garcia (5-4, 1.79 ERA).

The 29-year-old has been mostly outstanding despite missing the first seven-plus weeks of the season due to a shoulder injury and another month in June with a groin injury.

Garcia has held opponents to two runs or less in nine of 12 starts, though he did allow three over 6 1-3 innings Wednesday while not factoring into the decision of a 4-3 home win over San Francisco.

"Whether you have your best stuff or don't, you want to give your team a chance," Garcia, who has a 1.32 ERA in five road starts, told MLB's official website.

Garcia has won all four of his career starts versus Arizona behind a 2.78 ERA. The Diamondbacks, though, tagged him for season highs of four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 6-4 road loss May 26. Nick Ahmed homered off Garcia and Yasmany Tomas had two doubles in that contest.

A.J. Pollock went 2 for 5 with a double Monday and is hitting .404 in his last 22 home games.

Garcia has done a nice job against Goldschmidt, who is 0 for 5 with three strikeouts lifetime in the matchup. Goldschmidt, who leads the NL with 93 RBIs and ranks third with a .327 average, could be out soon as he and his wife are expecting their first child.

Arizona will try to get back on track offensively as Robbie Ray faces the Cardinals for the first time. The left-hander was originally scheduled to pitch in the opener before getting pushed back after the club recalled starter Jhoulys Chacin from Triple-A Reno.

Ray (3-9, 3.38) allowed three runs over six innings Wednesday but didn't get any runs from the offense for the second consecutive outing in a 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh. He's gone 0-5 with a 4.97 ERA in seven starts since his last victory at Texas on July 7.

St. Louis has totaled 15 runs in its last two wins after pushing across nine over its previous five games. Matt Carpenter hit his 19th home run Monday to snap an 0-for-21 slide.