The St. Louis Cardinals got a little closer to full strength in their latest series, and Matt Adams could make his first appearance in the starting lineup in four months Tuesday night.
After homering in his latest game, Adams will try to help the Cardinals protect their NL Central lead in the opener of a three-game road set against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Initially expected to miss the rest of the season because of a torn right quad, Adams was activated from the disabled list Wednesday and made three pinch-hit appearances over four games at Cincinnati. He delivered a two-run shot Sunday as the Cardinals (89-54) pulled away for a 9-2 win that snapped a three-game slide.
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Jon Jay had his first two-hit game since returning from an injured left wrist Sept. 4 and Matt Belisle made his first appearance since June 25 for St. Louis, which won for the third time in 11 contests to stay 2 1/2 games ahead of Pittsburgh.
Slugger Matt Holliday might also be close to returning from a strained right quad.
"It's good to have all of those guys coming, but at the same time, you can't sit around and wait for them," third baseman Matt Carpenter told MLB's official website. "This thing isn't going to change collectively until individually we are executing better and doing those things. You can't just hope that Matt Holliday is going to save us or Matt Adams is going to save us or whoever is coming off the DL."
The Cardinals have won 15 of 21 meetings with the Brewers - eight of 12 this season - and are 19-7 at Miller Park since the start of 2013.
Carlos Martinez (13-7, 3.12 ERA) won 3-0 at Milwaukee on April 24, pitching seven innings and striking out eight, but he's gone 1-3 with a 5.60 ERA in his last five starts. The right-hander matched a career high by allowing 10 hits in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday and gave up three runs in five innings, not getting the decision.
The Brewers (62-81) have lost five of six overall but are 13-5 in their last 18 at home and have won four in a row there.
Ariel Pena (1-0, 4.50) will make his second career start and third major league appearance. The right-hander gave up two runs and three hits in five innings of a 5-2 loss at Miami on Wednesday.
''I felt a little emotional which you expect as something normal,'' Pena said. ''I just concentrated on the signs and made my pitches."
Jonathan Lucroy hasn't played since suffering a concussion last Tuesday in Miami, and his status is uncertain.
Jean Segura has batted .371 in his last 14 games and .340 in the 12 against St. Louis this season. He had two of the Brewers' four hits off Martinez in April.
Jhonny Peralta is a career .340 hitter against Milwaukee, but has batted .151 in his last 16 games. Adams has a .322 average in 16 career contests at Miller Park.