Right-hander Lance Lynn makes the fifth start of his brief big-league career and his first against Pittsburgh tonight, when the St. Louis Cardinals head to PNC Park for the first of three games with the homestanding Pirates.
The burly 6-5, 250-pounder, a native of Brownsburg, Ind., debuted with the world champion Cardinals last season and started twice in 18 overall appearances while posting a very respectable 3.12 earned run average across 34 2/3 innings of work - which included 40 strikeouts.
He transitioned to starter to begin the 2012 season and has been even more impressive, winning a pair of decisions against Milwaukee and Chicago while allowing just two runs on six hits across 12 full innings.
He's walked just three batters and struck out 13 for the Cardinals, who've scored 14 runs in the two games.
Lynn faced Pittsburgh once last season and allowed a run on two hits in a two- inning relief outing, striking out two batters but being tagged with a blown save.
The Cardinals' win streak was stopped at four games on Thursday at home, where Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick and Drew Stubbs each homered in support of a strong outing from Bronson Arroyo, and the Cincinnati Reds averted a three- game sweep by doubling up the hosts, 6-3, at Busch Stadium.
Adam Wainwright (0-3) gave up four runs on seven hits in five frames for St. Louis.
"He wasn't as sharp as he wanted to be," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's part of the rehab process, you got to feel your way through it and figure out how you're going to pitch on days you don't feel quite right."
Wainwright missed all of 2011 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The Pirates counter Lynn with right-hander Charlie Morton, a double-digit winner in 29 starts last season after recording just two victories a season earlier.
Morton, a third-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2002, debuted with the Braves in 2008 before heading to Pittsburgh in a four-player deal that sent Nate McLouth to Atlanta in June 2009.
He won five games in 18 starts in his initial season with the Pirates and went 2-12 with a stint in the minors in 2010 before bouncing back last season to post a respectable 3.83 earned run average in a career-high 171 2/3 innings.
Morton is 2-5 lifetime against the Cardinals in nine starts.
On Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Neil Walker hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the eighth inning as the Pirates took a 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in the rubber match of a three-game set at Chase Field.
Brad Lincoln (1-0) tossed three scoreless innings of one-hit ball in relief of starter James McDonald, who lasted just four innings. Lincoln struck out four and walked three after being called up earlier on Wednesday to replace pitcher Jeff Karstens, who was sent to the 15-day disabled list.
Juan Cruz worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to nail down his second save of the year. Pedro Alvarez added a solo homer and Andrew McCutchen finished with two hits for the Pirates, who took two straight from Arizona after dropping the series opener.
St. Louis was 9-7 versus the Pirates last season.