Cards try to make up more ground on division-leading Pirates
The St. Louis Cardinals can pull closer to the top of the NL Central when they resume a three-game series versus the division-rival Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals needed extra frames to trim Pittsburgh's NL Central lead to two games with Tuesday's 4-3 victory in 14 innings. Adron Chambers drove in Jon Jay with the game-winning run in the bottom of the 14th and delivered St. Louis its second straight win since a four-game slide.
Jay ended 4-for-6 with an RBI, Matt Carpenter had three hits and Allen Craig posted two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Cardinals, who are 3-5 on a 10-game homestand and in the midst of playing 17 of 23 games at Busch.
"All the way down the line the guys did a terrific job," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "There were a lot of guys that did things right tonight."
Matt Holliday finished 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, but left in the 10th inning with a right ankle sprain. X-rays were negative and the slugger is day-to-day. Holliday has reached base safely in each of his 18 games since he came off the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
Carpenter has an NL-leading 38 doubles, 30 of which have come while batting in the leadoff spot. Rogers Hornsby holds the Cardinals single-season record for doubles by a second baseman with 46 in 1922.
Jay has 20 hits in 12 August games.
Shelby Miller will take the mound for St. Louis Wednesday and he is 3-1 in his last four decisions. Miller did not factor in the outcome of a 13-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers last Wednesday and left early after being hit on his throwing arm by a line drive from the first batter in the game.
Miller is 11-7 with a 2.89 earned run average in 22 starts and has lost both of his outings against Pittsburgh. The right-hander never faced the Pirates in six appearances (1 start) last season.
The Pirates have lost four in a row since winning five straight. Jared Hughes was dealt the loss for surrendering Chambers' game-winning hit and starter Charlie Morton did his best in six innings of work, allowing two runs.
Andrew McCutchen and Jordy Mercer both homered for the Pirates. McCutchen has multi-hits in seven of his last 10 games and Andrew Lambo went 0-for-3 in his major league debut.
"There are some hard lessons learned from time to time," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We let one probably get away."
With the loss, the Buccos are still 28-18 in the last 46 games.
Francisco Liriano gets the call for Hurdle's club Wednesday and had the worst start of his career in last Friday's 10-1 loss at Colorado. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings and was rocked for 10 runs and 12 hits. Liriano had won three straight and seven of eight starts, and is 12-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 17 trips to the mound this season.
The left-handed Liriano defeated the Cardinals on July 29 with seven innings of one-run ball in a 9-2 win and is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA lifetime against them. Liriano is 6-3 with a 2.02 ERA in nine starts against the NL Central and his 12 wins are the most in his career since posting a career-best 14 with Minnesota back in 2010.
Liriano's 12 wins are also the most by a Pirates left-hander since Tom Gorzelanny went 14-10 back in 2007.
The Pirates have won seven of 11 contests against St. Louis this season and had a six-game winning streak in this series broken on Aug. 1.