Saturday, May 10, 2014
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Preview: Cardinals At Pirates

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[May 10, 2014]  The Pittsburgh Pirates have won five of seven following a 10-18 start, and they’re looking like contenders again as they head into Saturday’s game against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates began the series with Friday's 6-4 win after Neil Walker belted a three-run homer in the seventh off Carlos Martinez. Walker is hitting .362 (17-for-47) in the seventh inning or later for the Pirates, who have won 10 of the last 13 regular-season meetings against the Cardinals in Pittsburgh.

St. Louis fell to 3-4 on its nine-game road trip with Friday’s loss, but first baseman Allen Craig snapped a 2-for-21 slump with two hits, including a three-run homer. Manager Mike Matheny said he remains committed to Craig, who began the series batting .202 (26-for-129) with 25 strikeouts. The Pirates might want to change their approach to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who has hit three of his seven homers this season against Pittsburgh and went 2-for-4 with a solo blast in the series opener.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), ROOT (Pittsburgh)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (4-1, 3.51 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Edinson Volquez (1-3, 4.19)

Lynn has received generous run support while pitching into the seventh inning only twice in his first seven starts, but he continues to be a consistent part of the Cardinals’ rotation. “Whether you're getting a lot of support or throwing a shutout, one way or another, you’re finding a way to get it done, and Lance has done that,” manager Mike Matheny told The 26-year-old is 4-2 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 career games (nine starts) against the Pirates.

Volquez was one of the majors’ most pleasant surprises in early April, but he’s lost three straight starts and allowed 12 earned runs over his last two outings covering 10 2/3 innings. Matt Holliday is 9-for-24 with two homers against the 30-year-old, who is 3-6 with a 5.56 ERA in 12 career starts against the Cardinals. Volquez has struggled with his control throughout his career, but he brings a 21-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio into Saturday’s contest.

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1. Pirates RHP Mark Melancon has not allowed a home run in his last 80 innings, which is the longest current streak in the majors.

2. The Cardinals are 4-12 when their opponent scores first.

3. Pirates OF Travis Snider and C Russell Martin lost their suspension appeals for their involvement in last month’s bench-clearing brawl with Milwaukee. Snider began his two-game suspension Friday, and Martin will sit out one game when he returns from the disabled list.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 6, Pirates 4

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