Preview: Cards open four-game home set against Arizona

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lance Lynn has been quite a different pitcher since turning in his shortest outing of the year against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his first 2013 start.

Lynn is unbeaten in his last eight regular-season home outings heading into Monday night’s opener of a four-game set for the St. Louis Cardinals in this matchup of division leaders.

NL West-leading Arizona (32-24) took two of three at home from Central-leading St. Louis (37-19) to start the season. Lynn (7-1, 2.91 ERA), seeking to start 8-1 for the second straight season, gave up four runs over four-plus innings in a 10-9, 16-inning defeat April 3.

The right-hander has yielded that many runs just twice over his next 10 outings. He’s also 6-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his last eight regular-season starts at Busch Stadium, yielding two runs over seven innings and not receiving a decision in Wednesday’s 5-3 home victory over Kansas City.

Lynn will have to be wary of Gerardo Parra, who is 3 for 6 with two triples and a homer against him. Parra went 8 for 16 with four runs scored in the season-opening series against the Cardinals.

The Diamondbacks outfielder is 9 for 23 during a modest six-game hitting streak with consecutive two-RBI efforts to help Arizona take two of three on the road this past weekend from the Cubs.

Paul Goldschmidt is also surging, going 14 for 31 over his last eight games with 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. He leads the NL with 33 road RBIs but is just 7 for 31 overall against St. Louis – 2 for 2 against Lynn.

Despite the hot bats, manager Kirk Gibson is hoping for good weather in St. Louis since his team has been unable to get in any extra hitting outside.

“It’s kind of getting to the point where I think we’ll look forward to getting to St. Louis,” Gibson told the Diamondbacks’ official website. “Hopefully, we’ll get some weather where we can get some early work in and just have a good BP session.”

Gibson should have catcher Miguel Montero back in his lineup Monday, while St. Louis manager Mike Matheny will likely have Carlos Beltran back. Both veterans had Sunday off.

The Cardinals bring in two players with double-digit hit streaks in David Freese and Matt Carpenter.

Freese has matched a career high with a 12-game run in which he is batting .357, including a two-run homer in Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to San Francisco.

“I’m seeing the baseball and trying to consistently hit the ball hard somewhere,” he said. “It’s all about the approach at the plate.”

Carpenter is even hotter at .391 with 10 runs scored during his 11-game surge.

Those hitters will be up against Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill (3-5, 2.88), who has permitted four earned runs or fewer for 29 straight starts for the longest active streak in the majors.

Cahill will face the Cardinals for the second time after giving up three runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 6-1 loss April 2.

Matt Holliday homered off him in that contest and is 3 for 9 against the right-hander with every hit leaving the ballpark.