ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have given their outstanding rotation the best run support in the NL, though no starter has benefited from that production more than Lance Lynn.
With the right-hander going for his seventh win, the Cardinals look to keep rolling Saturday night at Busch Stadium against a Milwaukee Brewers team they’ve dominated this season.
St. Louis improved to 6-2 on a 10-game homestand by holding on for a 7-6 victory over Milwaukee in Friday’s series opener, as David Freese’s grand slam – his first homer of the season – capped a five-run first inning.
“That’s the biggest thing about this, you want to join the fun,” said Freese, who entered the contest with a .209 average, four RBIs and a .287 on-base percentage. “Fortunately enough, I haven’t done squat this year and we’ve got a heck of a record.”
The Cardinals (27-14), who have won 13 of 16 and own the best record in the majors, have given their starters the most runs in the league with 162. They’ve also scored 49 runs for their starters and batted .300 with nine homers while winning seven of eight against the Brewers (16-24).
Allen Craig went 3 for 3 Friday and is hitting .406 versus Milwaukee this year, while John Jay (12 for 29), Matt Holliday (10 for 28) and Yadier Molina (11 for 31) have also done damage in the season series.
Holliday (6 for 12) and Molina (8 for 15) have also had success against Saturday’s scheduled starter, Marco Estrada.
Lynn is receiving a league-high 7.02 runs per game, but he might not need much support with the way he has pitched lately. He has gone at least seven innings in each of his last five outings, posting a 1.80 ERA with 37 strikeouts over 35 innings in that span. Lynn overcame a career-high five walks by striking out seven and surrendering three runs and four hits over seven innings in a 6-3 win over the New York Mets on Monday.
Lynn has allowed two runs with 18 strikeouts over 13 2-3 innings in two career starts against the Brewers.
Unlike the Cardinals, Milwaukee starters have struggled with a 6.78 ERA during the team’s 2-13 stretch.
Estrada (3-2, 5.32) will try to prevent the Brewers from their second five-game skid this month and third this season. He allowed one run and a season-low three hits over seven innings in a 5-1 win at Pittsburgh on Monday.
Estrada, who is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals, was tagged for eight runs with five walks over 3 1-3 innings in a 10-1 loss to St. Louis in his previous outing.
Milwaukee hopes Aramis Ramirez can find a groove after breaking out of a 1-for-16 slump with a pair of homers and six RBIs Friday.
“Nice to see Rammy get a couple,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “I think he’s been swinging the bat really well and hasn’t had much to show for it.”
Ramirez, though, is 0 for 6 with three strikeouts all-time against Lynn.