Diamondbacks-Cardinals Preview

The St. Louis Cardinals have yet to lose four straight at Busch

Stadium this season. With Chris Carpenter taking the mound, manager

Tony La Russa’s club seems to be in good position of upholding that

trend.

St. Louis looks to avoid its longest home losing streak this

year when it continues a four-game set with the surging Arizona

Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

The Cardinals (47-43), who were beaten by Cincinnati on

Wednesday, dropped Thursday’s series-opener and dropped into a

second-place tie with Pittsburgh in the NL Central after falling

7-6 on Friday.

St. Louis, which also lost three straight at home June 24-26,

has seen its starters compile an 8.50 ERA during its current skid.

Kyle Lohse gave up seven runs Friday, including Kelly Johnson’s

tie-breaking seventh-inning grand slam.

Arizona (49-41) improved to 5-3 on its current 10-game trek and

surpassed last season’s 25 road wins with the victory.

“I was just a situation where we got some guys on and it was a

big inning for us,” said Johnson, whose 16 home runs are the most

by a second baseman before the All-Star break in franchise

history.

While the Diamondbacks have never defeated Carpenter (4-7, 3.74

ERA) in St. Louis, they did get to him three months ago at Chase

Field.

Carpenter, who went 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in his first 10 career

starts against Arizona, gave up a season-worst eight runs in four

innings of a 13-8 loss April 12. A repeat performance from the

Cardinals ace, however, seems unlikely given his recent

efforts.

Carpenter has compiled a 0.75 ERA and limited opponents to a

.198 batting average while winning three consecutive outings.

The oft-injured 36-year-old, though, has thrown 499 pitches over

his last four starts – his highest total during any four-game span.

He scattered six hits over eight innings in outpitching Johnny

Cueto in a 1-0 win over Cincinnati on Monday.

“I felt good. Felt strong at the end just like I have,” he said.

“I’ve said it all along. I mean, it’s history and we’re

professionals. You move on.”

The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner could find himself in another

pitchers duel as the Diamondbacks counter with fellow right-hander

Daniel Hudson (9-5, 3.75).

Hudson has won six consecutive decisions over a span of 10

starts but was lucky to keep his streak Monday. He was tagged for

six runs and eight hits in a season-low four innings at Milwaukee

before the Diamondbacks rallied for an 8-6 victory.

Hudson, who has never faced St. Louis, is 3-0 in his last five

road outings despite a 4.50 ERA. He’ll look to slow down Lance

Berkman and Matt Holliday, two of the hottest hitters in

baseball.

Berkman went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and hit his NL-best

24th homer Friday – his fifth in as many meetings with Arizona this

season. Holliday also went deep and is 7 for 18 (.389) with four

homers and two doubles in his last four games.

Carpenter, meanwhile, could have trouble with Chris Young, who

is batting .364 with four long balls and 11 RBIs during his last

eight games in this series. Young is 9 for 15 (.600) with two

homers lifetime off Carpenter.