Cardinals turn to Miller aiming for split with Diamondbacks

Young right-hander Shelby Miller will try to hurl his St. Louis Cardinals to a split of their four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks when the first-place clubs conclude the set on Thursday night.

After a pair of rough road outings in which he failed to make it out of the sixth inning both times, Miller beat San Francisco on Saturday with seven scoreless frames. He scattered six hits and a walk while striking out seven in the 8-0 win.

It marked the eighth time in his 11 outings this season that the 22-year-old yielded two runs or fewer.

"It's just all coming together and trying to click, and I'm trying to learn something," Miller said on the Cardinals' website. "If it's throwing a sinker or throwing changeups when you don't think you would in other cases early on in my career, it's just I feel like I'm building better and better each time."

A 2009 first-round pick, Miller is 6-3 with a 1.82 earned run average on the season and faces Arizona for the first time.

Ian Kennedy gets the call for the Diamondbacks and is coming off a victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

After missing his previous start due to a cut on his finger suffered a home while doing the dishes, Kennedy held the Cubs to just three hits and a walk over seven innings, but was still touched for four runs. The righty also fanned seven in moving to 3-3 on the year with a 4.74 ERA in 11 starts.

Kennedy's season includes a win over the Cardinals on April 1 in his first outing of the year. The 28-year-old logged seven innings and fanned eight while giving up two runs, moving to 2-3 lifetime versus St. Louis with a 7.14 ERA in five starts.

After losing the opener of this series on Monday, the Diamondbacks have rattled off back-to-back wins, giving the Cardinals their first two-game losing streak since dropping three in a row from April 27-29. Arizona has won seven of its last 10.

Paul Goldschmidt helped break open a close game with a seventh-inning grand slam, his second homer with the bases loaded in five days. He also smacked a grand slam in Kennedy's win over the Cubs and currently leads the NL with 53 RBI.

Wade Miley put together a much-needed quality start to earn the win. Miley, who had been 0-4 with a 9.14 ERA over his previous four outings, tossed 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on 11 hits.

"They're a great team -- no doubt -- over there," Miley said. "But we're pretty good ourselves. So it's two good teams going out and fighting. And we've come out on top a couple of times, they've won a couple, it's just the way the game is."

While Arizona leads the NL West by 2 1/2 games over Colorado, St. Louis is 2 1/2 games up on Cincinnati for the top spot in the NL Central.

Following an unexpected doubleheader on Saturday and Tuesday night's 14-inning loss, Joe Kelly had to make a spot start for the Cards and suffered the loss despite yielding two runs -- one earned -- on four hits and a walk in 5 2/3 frames of work.

"Joe did a good job for us," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We needed that. He was good. He had a good sinker working. Probably the best changeup we've ever seen him throw. A little trouble getting his breaking balls going, but overall just a really big outing for us."

St. Louis' David Freese and Matt Carpenter extended their hitting streaks to 15 and 14 games, respectively, while catcher Yadier Molina did not play as he dropped his appeal of a one-game suspension handed down for his actions in last Sunday's game versus San Francisco. That included making contact with an umpire while arguing a close play at first base.

The Diamondbacks won for just the third time in their last eight in St. Louis and are 5-9 in the previous 14 encounters overall.