MLB

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 - 1:45 PM ET
 

Pirates-Cardinals Preview

Share This Story

   
 

After being stymied at the plate in their last contest, the St. Louis Cardinals should be eager to welcome one of the majors' top hitters back to the lineup.

Making his return from the disabled list, Yadier Molina tries to help the Cardinals move closer to the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates in Thursday's series finale at Busch Stadium.

Out since July 30 with a sprained right knee, the All-Star catcher was activated on the first day he was eligible. Though Molina was mired in a 3-for-19 slump at the time of his injury, he's second in the NL with a .330 average.

Molina hopes to get back on track and help St. Louis (68-51) cut into Pittsburgh's three-game lead in the Central.

"You have to give it your all every time because it's only a month and a half left,'' he said. "Every time you get a day off it's beautiful for your body but right now my team needs me and I'll be ready to go.''

Though manager Mike Matheny is glad to have one of his stars back, he plans to be cautious with Molina.

"We're going to be careful,'' Matheny said. "You just have to try to do the right thing.''

St. Louis pounded out 27 hits and scored 12 runs to win two straight before being held to four hits by Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano in a 5-1 loss Wednesday.

The victory snapped a season high-tying four-game skid for the Pirates (71-48), who won for the second time in nine road contests.

"It was important because every game counts, especially after (Tuesday's 4-3, 14-inning loss),'' Liriano said. "It was a tough game last night and we had to put that one behind us and come ready to play.''

Even with Molina in the lineup, Pittsburgh could be in a good position to win behind A.J. Burnett (5-8, 2.95 ERA). The right-hander has allowed three runs, nine hits and struck out 23 in 20 innings while going 2-0 in three starts against the Cardinals this season.

He yielded one of those runs and three hits while fanning nine in seven innings of a 2-1, 11-inning victory July 30.

Burnett, however, has received an average 3.60 runs of support while he's 1-2 with a 2.60 ERA in his last seven starts overall. The Pirates scored three runs with him on the mound Saturday but he gave up five of his six in the sixth inning of a 6-4 loss at Colorado.

St. Louis' pitcher Lance Lynn (13-6, 3.79) gave up a run and three hits while striking out seven in six innings in the one-run loss to Burnett and the Pirates last month.

After yielding four runs and seven hits in five innings to still earn the win in a 10-6 victory at Pittsburgh on April 15, Lynn has allowed two and five hits over 13 innings to go 1-0 the next two against the Pirates.

The right-hander was cruising until he gave up three runs in the seventh inning of a 3-0 home loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

Batting .459 during an 11-game hitting streak, St. Louis' Matt Holliday is 5 for his last 16 with a homer against Burnett.

Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez is one shy of matching his career-high home run total after hitting his 29th on Wednesday. He's homered in two of the last three games overall, and has 11 in 46 career contests versus St. Louis.

Tagged: Pirates, Cardinals, A.J. Burnett, Yadier Molina

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..