Pittsburgh (39-35) at St. Louis (40-36), 8:15 p.m. EDT
The St. Louis Cardinals have come through in the clutch lately, and they’ll try to continue that trend following a successful road trip.
Another strong outing at Busch Stadium from Adam Wainwright might also help the Cardinals begin a season-high 10-game homestand in winning fashion Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
St. Louis batted .202 with runners in scoring position in a 5-7 stretch earlier this month before reeling off a season-high five consecutive victories, a streak that ended with a 5-3 loss Wednesday to Miami.
The Cardinals (40-36) finished 6-3 on their road trip and were 29 for 65 (.446) with runners in scoring position over the final six games. Carlos Beltran, who is one hit shy of 2,000, was 6 for 11 (.545) in those situations with 11 RBIs, and Matt Holliday was 5 for 7 (.714).
“I think we just went through a lull like every team does,” manager Mike Matheny told the team’s website “It’s just periods you go when you’re just not getting them with men in scoring position. If you can hit, you can hit. We’ve got guys that aren’t afraid of big situations, so it’s going to equal out.”
The Cardinals batted .308 overall and outscored opponents 46-28 over the last six contests, but Wainwright (6-7, 4.32 ERA) might not need much support if he has another superb performance at home. The right-hander, though, will certainly use all the help he can get.
Wainwright is 2-1 with a 1.24 ERA over his last four starts at Busch Stadium, but is winless over his last two while receiving a combined three runs of support. His teammates gave him plenty of runs in an 8-2 win Saturday in Kansas City, where he allowed two runs over seven innings.
Wainwright, though, hasn’t been as dominant lately against Pittsburgh (40-35) – posting a 4.19 ERA in his last six matchups. However, he’s 5-1 in those games thanks to a combined 42 runs of support and a good portion came during a 10-7 win May 1.
Wainwright gave up a pair of two-run homers over seven innings during that game.
This time, the right-hander will face a team that’s seeking a third straight win. The Pirates produced 16 runs and 21 hits over their final two games in Philadelphia, including a 5-4 victory Thursday, after compiling nine and 21, respectively, over three consecutive defeats.
While attempting to extend their win streak, Pittsburgh will send out Kevin Correia (3-6, 4.03), who is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA over his last two starts. His lone mistake in six innings Sunday against Justin Verlander and Detroit was a two-run homer in the first inning, and he left without a decision in the 3-2 loss.
“I pitched pretty good after (the home run), but it’s tough to spot a guy like Verlander two runs,” Correia said. “I knew after that that’s all I could give up if I was going to keep us in the game.”
Correia is 1-4 with a 5.87 ERA in his last six road starts and 2-3 with a 3.65 ERA in his six overall against St. Louis. He’s allowed a combined 16 runs in the three losses and zero in the other three games.
The Cardinals batted .333 and .310 with runners in scoring position while winning two of three over the Pirates at home May 1-3. They also won two of three in Pittsburgh from April 20-22 despite hitting .228 and .129 with runners in scoring position.