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Division-leading Cards open up set with Phillies

5:47 PM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The first-place St. Louis Cardinals will shoot for their fourth win in five games on Tuesday when they host the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals, who lead Pittsburgh by 1 1/2 games for first place in the NL Central, took two of three from visiting San Diego over the weekend and notched a 3-2 decision in Sunday's finale. It was the third win in four tilts and ninth in 12 games for St. Louis.

Sunday's victory ended with a potentially game-saving catch by Allen Craig, who scaled the wall to rob San Diego's Jedd Gyorko of a possible home run.

After the Padres just failed to tie the game because a double bounced out of play, Gyorko sent Edward Mujica's splitter deep to left. Craig, after turning around on his way to the fence, recovered to get his right shoulder against the fence as he timed his jump. He elevated his glove over the padding and snagged Gyorko's fly ball to make it the 27th out in the in the rubber match against the Padres.

"I didn't know if he hit it good enough to get it out," Craig said. "I had to run back pretty far to get it. He's always a guy who hits the ball to right field, so I was kind of shading the gap a little bit and he hit it straight over my head. That's always a tough play for an outfielder, to turn around and run straight back, not sure where it's going to fade to."

David Freese had two hits and lined a two-run double in the third inning that dropped just past Alexi Amarista's outstretched glove and proved to be the difference.

Adam Wainwright (13-5) gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks in eight innings. He struck out seven and became the National League's first pitcher to 13 wins.

Shelby Miller will try to help St. Louis open strong against the Phillies, who have never faced the 22-year-old right-hander. Miller is 9-6 with a 2.92 earned run average this season and can join Wainwright and Lance Lynn (11-5) as the third Cardinals hurler to reach double digit in wins.

Miller last pitched on July 10 when he posted a no-decision against the visiting Houston Astros. He allowed three runs on five hits in five innings, while walking five batters.

The Phillies, meanwhile, hope to avoid a third straight loss on Monday after dropping the last two tests of a three-game series against the New York Mets. Philadelphia won the opener at Citi Field by a 13-8 margin before dropping consecutive decisions.

Philly was shut out in Sunday's finale, losing 5-0 to Matt Harvey and the Mets. Harvey allowed just three hits and struck out 10 batters over seven strong innings.

Harvey didn't allow a hit until Chase Utley's one-out single in the fourth. The Phillies mustered only two more hits, a Michael Young single and a Delmon Young double, before the right-hander gave way to Scott Atchison after throwing 112 pitches.

Harvey's fellow All-Star, Cliff Lee (10-4), got the starting nod for Philadelphia and he was victimized by the long ball again. The southpaw, making his 300th career start, lasted six frames and surrendered seven hits, three of which were homers. Lee gave up four solo homers in his final pre-All- Star outing, a 5-1 loss to Washington.

"You've got to give Harvey a lot of credit today," Lee said. "He's been pitching unbelievable and he didn't allow us to score. I knew going in that it was going to be a game where I couldn't allow too many runs."

The previous series began a nine-game road trip for the Phillies, who are just 23-29 as the visiting team this season. After this set in St. Louis, Philly will head to Detroit for another three-gamer that is set to begin on Friday.

Philadelphia will send Jonathan Pettibone to the mound tonight and the righty will aim for a third straight winning decision. Pettibone went 2-0 in his first two July starts before posting a no-decision on July 13 against the Chicago White Sox. He yielded three runs and six hits over six innings in that outing.

The rookie Pettibone has never faced the Cardinals in his brief career, but he is just 2-2 with a 5.65 ERA in seven road games this season.

The Phillies and Cardinals split a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park from April 18-21 and Philadelphia claimed five of the seven meetings during the 2012 season.

 

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