Watch Now: Cardinals vs. Mariners


(AP) –
The St. Louis Cardinals are
surely happy to be home following a difficult road trip, especially
with Adam Wainwright set to take the mound.

Wainwright looks to improve to 6-0 in
as many starts at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals return to interleague
play to face the struggling Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

St. Louis (34-29) finds itself
chasing first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central following its 1-5
trip, which featured offensive problems and shaky pitching.

The team hit .227 on the trip, with
sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday combining to go 6 for 44
(.136) with three RBIs. Pujols had all three RBIs in Sunday’s 7-5 loss
at Arizona.

He helped erase a three-run deficit
in the ninth, but the Cardinals lost in the bottom of the inning on a
walk-off home run by Chris Young.

“Tough loss and tough road trip,”
manager Tony La Russa said. “We gave ourselves a great chance and I
thought we were going to pull it off but we didn’t.”

Wainwright (8-4, 2.30 ERA) also had
problems on the trip, walking a season-high five and matching a season
high by allowing four runs in six innings of a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers
on Wednesday.

The right-hander has been
consistently brilliant at home, and he notched his first career shutout
there June 4 with a two-hitter in an 8-0 win over Milwaukee. He’s 5-0
with a 1.62 ERA and two complete games at Busch Stadium this year.

The Cardinals have won nine of 13 in St. Louis, and they swept Seattle in the Mariners’ only previous visit from July 2-4, 2004.

Seattle (24-39) is scuffling on its
road trip. The last-place Mariners are 9-22 on the road, and they had
lost five straight before avoiding a sweep at San Diego with Sunday’s
4-2 win.

Milton Bradley’s two-run home run
was just the third homer in 10 games for the Mariners, who rank last in
the majors with 35 home runs.

“It was a must-win,” Bradley said.
“The way we’ve been playing was unacceptable. The way I’ve been playing
has been unacceptable. It’s time to do something about it, starting
with myself.”

Seattle will have Luke French (0-0, 6.35) on the mound for his first start in the majors this season.

The left-hander replaces Ian Snell
in the rotation after Snell allowed eight runs in 1 2-3 innings of a
12-2 loss at Texas on Wednesday. French gave up four runs in 5 1-3
innings of relief that night.

“I just love to pitch, regardless
(if it’s) bullpen or starting,” French told the Mariners’ official
website. “But starting is something I’ve always done, so it’s
exciting.”

The 24-year-old dominated minor
league hitters for Triple-A Tacoma this year, going 6-2 with a 1.93 ERA
in 11 starts. He had a 6.38 ERA in seven starts for the Mariners in
2009, though.

Seattle has lost both of its
interleague series this season – both to the Padres – while the
Cardinals took two of three from the visiting Los Angeles Angels from
May 21-23. St. Louis has won three of four home series against AL
opponents.

Updated June 14, 2010