After enduring a bit of a slump, the St. Louis Cardinals appear
to have it going again at the plate.
Coming off another big offensive effort, the Cardinals look for
a fourth straight victory to complete their first road sweep of the
struggling Arizona Diamondbacks in eight years Wednesday night.
St. Louis (19-11) has totaled 23 runs and 32 hits during its
current three-game winning streak that followed a season-high
three-game skid during which the NL Central leaders were held to
nine and 22, respectively.
After scoring three times in the first inning of a 9-6
series-opening win Monday, the Cardinals totaled all of their runs
in the first two frames of Tuesday’s 6-1 victory over Arizona. For
the first time since 1986, St. Louis has scored in the first inning
of eight straight contests.
The Cardinals, whose 167 runs rank among the most in the majors,
last swept a series in Arizona from April 9-11, 2004.
Carlos Beltran was responsible for all the scoring Tuesday,
hitting a two-homer in the first and adding a grand slam in second.
A lifetime .363 hitter with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs against the
Diamondbacks, Beltran has three homers in the series, and is 6 for
16 with eight RBIs in his last four games.
“It’s confidence, it’s results, it’s a little bit of
everything,” Beltran said. “I’m just going through good times. In
this game, you go through ups and downs.”
After starters Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook held the
Diamondbacks (14-17) scoreless over 12 innings of the first two
games, Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.11 ERA) looks to rebound from his worst
outing of the season in the finale. The right-hander allowed five
runs – three earned – and seven hits in a season-low five innings
of a 5-4 loss at Houston on Friday.
“I didn’t think I had too bad of control,” said Lohse, who
yielded three earned runs in his first five starts but six in the
last two. “It was one of those things where you are out there
grinding, feel like you are hitting your spots, and you keep
running full counts and 2-2 counts.”
Lohse has not had it easy versus Arizona – going 2-2 with a 5.36
ERA in eight starts. He’s 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in five outings at
The Diamondbacks, however, are looking to avoid matching a
season-high fifth consecutive defeat. Arizona has been held to one
run three times while losing seven of 11 overall.
“We haven’t played the way we’re capable of recently,” manager
Kirk Gibson said. “You can’t start feeling sorry for ourselves
because we haven’t been as successful as we wanted to be. We have
to keep it in perspective.”
Aaron Hill had three of the team’s six hits and Miguel Montero
drove in the lone run in the ninth Tuesday as the reigning NL West
champions dropped their fourth straight and ninth in 11 games at
Arizona’s Wade Miley (3-0, 2.33) makes his fourth straight start
in place of the injured Daniel Hudson and faces the Cardinals for
the first time. The left-hander had allowed one run in 12 1-3
innings while winning his first two starts, but gave up four in six
innings of a 5-4 win at New York on Friday.
It’s uncertain if Miley will face St. Louis star catcher Yadier
Molina, who left in the ninth Tuesday after he was hit on the back
of his gloved hand trying to grab a pitch.
Preliminary X-rays were negative.