The St. Louis Cardinals will try to get back on track tonight in the opener of a three-game series versus the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals had a three-game winning streak cut short in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of a three-game set. Jaime Garcia got the nod for the Cardinals and was done in by a three-run sixth inning that erased St. Louis' 1-0 lead. Garcia was saddled with the loss and lasted seven innings, allowing nine hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Rafael Furcal had two hits and drove in a run, while Matt Carpenter finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. David Freese collected just one hit in five at-bats and was disappointed with himself postgame.
"I left some guys on base. We just didn't get it done today. Today was a big day," Freese said. "I think the last few losses we've had, we can't rack too many of those up. When opportunities knock you have to come through if you're going to win the division."
St. Louis went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 13 on base.
Adam Wainwright is still in search of his first win of the season and will take the hill tonight for St. Louis. Wainwright lost his first three starts and did not record a decision the previous time out in a 3-2 setback against the Chicago Cubs. He tossed six innings of one-run ball and struck out a season-high seven batters.
The right-hander is 0-2 in two home starts, but has enjoyed success against Pittsburgh, going 7-3 with a 4.76 ERA in 17 games (13 starts).
Meanwhile, the Pirates split a four-game set in Atlanta thanks to a 9-3 pounding of the hosts last night.
Pedro Alvarez and Yamaico Navarro both hit two-run homers, while Jose Tabata scored twice and Neil Walker finished 3-for-5 for the Pirates, who have alternated wins and losses over the past 11 contests.
Buccos starter James McDonald gave up three runs on seven hits with two walks and a career-best 10 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings.
"I was just trying to throw strikes and keep my team in the game," said McDonald. "Guys were jumping on the fast balls early, so we switched things up and went to my off speed."
The Pirates hope to keep the bats going tonight for Charlie Morton. Morton is 1-1 with a 2.65 earned run average in three starts and is coming off his first win of the season, a 5-1 triumph versus Colorado on Wednesday. Morton held the Rockies to a run on six hits in seven innings.
Morton, a right-hander, was beaten by St. Louis on April 20 in the Steel City, as he surrendered two runs -- one earned -- in five innings of a 4-1 loss. In 10 career starts against the Cardinals, Morton is just 2-6 with a 5.80 ERA.
St. Louis took two of three meetings against the Pirates last month and has won eight of the last 11 contests in this series.