Cubs-Cardinals Preview

BY foxsports • July 21, 2012

(AP) -- Matt Garza has looked like an All-Star at home but is quite vulnerable on the road.

His outings at Busch Stadium have been no exception to that rule.

Matt Holliday and the Cardinals, who are heating up in St. Louis, look to add to Garza's road woes Saturday night in what could be one of his last starts with the Chicago Cubs.

After coming out of the All-Star break with a 1-5 road trip, the Cardinals (48-45) quickly ended Ryan Dempster's 33-inning scoreless streak Friday in the opener of a seven-game homestand, plating three runs in the first en route to a 4-1 victory. It was the third straight home win for St. Louis, which is 7-2 at Busch Stadium this month after losing 10 of its previous 15 there.

Holliday returned to the starting lineup and didn't miss a beat after coming off the bench in Wednesday's loss in Milwaukee because of a thigh contusion sustained the previous night when he was hit by a pitch. He belted a home run estimated at 469 feet, the longest at 7-year-old Busch Stadium.

"I got it good," said Holliday, who was batting .390 with 12 RBIs during a 15-game hitting streak prior to leaving Tuesday's contest.

He has put up similar numbers against the Cubs, hitting .391 with three home runs in his last six games in the series. He is also 6 for 17 (.353) with two doubles in his career against Garza (5-7, 4.02 ERA).

Garza has been the subject of trade rumors, although his numbers may give him reason to hope he stays in Chicago. The right-hander has a 2.12 ERA at Wrigley Field, but is 2-6 with a 5.67 ERA in 10 starts on the road.

Garza, who has allowed 13 runs over 10 innings in his two career starts in St. Louis, isn't concerning himself with the trade talks because he has another big event on the horizon.

"I've got a wife who is due in about 23 days, so rumor mill can wait," Garza said after he gave up five hits in seven scoreless innings in Sunday's 3-1 home victory over Arizona. "That's the last thing on my mind right now."

The Cubs (38-54), who have only two losses in their last eight games, hope he can still focus on pitching.

Garza's only appearance against the Cardinals this season came at Wrigley, and he pitched well, allowing two runs and four hits - two by Holliday - in seven innings of the Cubs' 3-2 comeback win April 23.

The Cardinals counter with Jake Westbrook (7-8, 3.82), who'll be making his third start in the season series. The righty gave up two runs and four hits over seven innings in a 10-3 win April 15, but wasn't quite as sharp 29 days later, permitting four runs and a season-high 12 hits in five innings of St. Louis' 6-4 loss.

Alfonso Soriano didn't have any of those hits and is 3 for 27 lifetime against Westbrook, who gave up four runs and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings of Sunday's 4-2 loss to Cincinnati.

Soriano doubled Friday and is hitting .370 with three homers, three doubles and six RBIs since the break.

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