(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Cubs will try to prevent the St. Louis Cardinals from winning a series for the first time since the opening week of the season as the NL Central rivals wrap a four-game series on Thursday afternoon.
The Cardinals have won each of their past seven series and took the first two contests against the Cubs to guarantee at least a split before the Cubs rebounded to win on Wednesday night.
The only series that St. Louis hasn't won this season came when it split a weather-shortened two-game series in Chicago to begin the campaign.
The Cubs denied the Cards a series win last night as Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in three runs to pace a 6-5 Chicago victory. Kris Bryant added two hits, an RBI and two runs scored, while Jorge Soler and Starlin Castro drove in a run each to snap the Cubs' four-game slide.
Chicago Starter Jon Lester earned the win after allowing four runs -- one earned -- on seven hits with six strikeouts over seven innings.
"We're fighting," said Rizzo, who has reached base safely in 15 straight games with a hit in seven in a row. "We are neck and neck with them. It's a big win."
Jhonny Peralta homered and Yadier Molina drove in two runs for the Cardinals, who had an eight-game winning streak stopped. Matt Holliday hit a double and drew a pair of walks. He has reached base safely in each of his 26 games played this season.
Starter Lance Lynn was tagged with the loss after giving up five runs and eight hits over six frames for the Cardinals.
"He was able to go deep for us and keep us in the game," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Lynn.
The Cubs will be looking for Jake Arrieta to rebound with today's start and he has history on his side, having gone 3-0 with a 0.74 earned run average in six career starts against the Cardinals.
Arrieta has held St. Louis to three earned runs and recorded 42 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings against the club, including a 2-0 victory at home on April 8 in which the righty fanned seven over seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball.
Arrieta had a two-start win streak halted with a 6-1 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday. He was charged with four runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings of work. That dropped the 29-year-old to 3-2 on the season with a 2.84 ERA.
St. Louis will give the ball today to John Lackey, who is 1-1 with a 3.69 ERA on the season and coming off a no-decision last time out.
After losing to Philadelphia on April 27, Lackey did not factor into his club's 2-1 extra-inning win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. The veteran righty gave up just one run over six innings, scattering six hits and three walks while striking out four.
Lackey has split two career decisions against the Cubs, pitching to a 2.70 ERA over three starts.