Cincinnati Reds' Cozart might return from tight quad
Jaime Garcia's near-flawless start got the St. Louis Cardinals back in the win column on their nine-game homestand, and Carlos Martinez will try to follow by building on his solid season debut.
At least a portion of the Busch Stadium contingent, however, will be pulling for Cincinnati Reds rookie Tim Melville in his return home Friday night.
Garcia's one-hitter with 13 strikeouts powered St. Louis to a 7-0 victory against Milwaukee on Thursday, and Martinez (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will seek to lead the Cardinals (5-4) to their sixth win in seven games.
The right-hander yielded two runs in six innings in a 12-2 rout of Atlanta on Saturday and had two RBIs. St. Louis had 14 hits in that game and reached double digits for the fifth time in six contests Thursday after being held to six in a 6-4 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday.
Rookie outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker tallied his third homer in nine games and went 2 for 5 with two RBIs, hitting safely for an eighth consecutive contest. The Cardinals registered 15 of their 24 doubles in the three games against Milwaukee and five other extra-base hits.
"There will be times when it's harder to come by, but I have faith that these guys will continue to drive (the ball) like they have," manager Mike Matheny said. "We want to keep it happening. What they're doing right now looks right."
Martinez was 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his four starts last April, beginning with two against Cincinnati, and went 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three matchups with the Reds (5-4) in 2015. He gave up one run in six innings in his lone matchup at Busch, a 5-2 victory April 18.
Martinez likely won't have all of the crowd on his side in this one as Melville (0-0, 2.25) is set to make his second major league start not far from his hometown. The Wentzville, Missouri, native will likely need to be more efficient to keep from experiencing another brief outing.
He threw 92 pitches in four innings in a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday. The right-hander also yielded five hits and four walks while fanning five.
"I have a lot of friends that are Cardinals fans hitting me up for tickets," Melville told MLB's official website. "They're telling me, 'This is going to be the one time I might root against the Cardinals.' I told them, 'I won't tell anybody, don't worry.'
"It's very exciting and I'm happy to be reunited with a lot of those people who helped me along the way, helped me grow and helped me develop."
The Reds are heading to St. Louis after enduring a three-game sweep at the Chicago Cubs and were outscored 22-6 following their best start since 2011. They gave up five runs in the eighth and barely avoided their first shutout this season in an 8-1 defeat Thursday.
The Cardinals have won 18 of their past 23 home games against Cincinnati and went 7-2 there in last season's series.
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, batting a team-best .412 in his first five games, might return from a tight right quad that kept him out of the past two games.