The road has not been kind to the St. Louis Cardinals, but they can claim their third straight series victory away from home with a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The Cardinals lead the Pirates by 1 1/2 games for third place in the National League Central as the division rivals meet in the rubber match of a three-game series.
The Cardinals are 18-22 on the road and are in the midst of a 10-game road trip to begin the second half. St. Louis evened the series with a 4-0 win Saturday, as Lance Lynn and three relievers blanked the Pirates. Right-hander Carlos Martinez will try to keep the Pirates at bay again after throwing two dominant innings in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Despite its most recent setback, Pittsburgh has won six of its last eight games but has totaled just one run in its last three losses.
TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), ATT SportsNet-Pittsburgh
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (6-8, 3.40 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Trevor Williams (3-4, 4.80)
Martinez is winless in his last four starts, and his last two outings have been among his worst of the year. The 25-year-old Dominican has allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings in each of his last two starts, taking the loss in both. Martinez is 4-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 18 games (nine starts) against the Pirates.
Williams hasn’t won since June 4, a span of six starts in which he has received only one decision. The 25-year-old had recorded three straight quality starts before an early hook July 7 against the Chicago Cubs, as he allowed three runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings and suffered his first loss since May 19. Williams made three relief appearances against the Cardinals last season, going 1-0 with a 6.23 ERA in 4 1/3 innings.
1. Pittsburgh 1B Josh Bell is 12-for-30 with two home runs and 10 RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak, while OF Andrew McCutchen is 10-for-23 during a six-game streak.
2. Cardinals 1B Matt Carpenter has reached safely in 18 straight games, tied for the second-longest active streak in the National League.
3. Pirates OF Gregory Polanco is 11-for-21 with three doubles, a triple, and a home run against Martinez, while the rest of Pittsburgh’s active roster is batting a combined .221 against the right-hander.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 6, Pirates 3