(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates conclude the final leg of their road trip at Busch Stadium on Friday night as they begin a three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Pirates are 4-2 so far on the trip and are coming off Wednesday's 8-1 triumph over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field to avoid getting swept in that series.
The Bucs out-hit the Cubs, 14-7, as four different players posted multi-hit nights. Jung Ho Kang led the way by going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, while Andrew McCutchen also drove in a pair of runs and had two hits, the last of which gave him 1,000 hits for his career.
Starter Gerrit Cole improved to 4-0 on the season as he gave up only an unearned run in six innings and struck out eight with one walk.
"It's nice to get out of here without getting swept," Cole said. "We can relax a little more on the off-day, clear our minds and get ready for St. Louis this weekend."
St. Louis is in the midst of an 11-game homestand. The team began that homestand by taking three of four from the Phillies this week, and the Cardinals have won seven of their last nine games overall.
There was plenty of offense to go around in Thursday's 9-3, series-clinching victory over Philadelphia.
The Cardinals needed the bats early on in that one as starter Tim Cooney lasted just 2 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits in his major league debut. But Nos. 2-4 hitters Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Matt Adams picked him up by combining for seven hits, six runs and six RBI at the plate.
"When those guys are swinging the bat well and you have tough at-bats one after another, it just puts the pressure on the pitcher and presents a different look for our lineup," Carpenter said. "I think it was a good move that (manager Mike Matheny) made the other day and it has paid off for us this week."
Matheny will give the ball to Lance Lynn to start Friday's game. The right- hander owns a 3.63 ERA and has notched 26 strikeouts against seven walks in 22 1/3 innings this season. But he is just 1-2 due to a lack of consistent run support.
This past Sunday at Milwaukee was his poorest outing so far in 2015, however, as he yielded six extra-base hits and as many runs in five innings.
Veteran A.J. Burnett gets the nod for Pittsburgh. Like Lynn, Burnett has not gotten much run support as he remains winless despite a 1.80 ERA on the young season. The offense has backed him with a total of only four runs across his four starts.
Burnett lasted seven innings at Arizona last week and allowed just one run on five hits for a no-decision.
St. Louis has won 13 of the last 16 meetings against the Pirates at Busch Stadium. These teams will see each other again next weekend in Pittsburgh.