(Updated: UPDATES Cardinals standing in the third sentence)
The St. Louis Cardinals will try to get their bats going against San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner when he toes the rubber in the finale of a four-game series at home Sunday afternoon. Bumgarner was scratched from the series opener Thursday due to an illness but will now take aim at a St. Louis offense that managed just three hits in Saturday’s 2-1 loss in 10 innings.
Dexter Fowler had two of those hits and the lone RBI for the Cardinals, who sit four games behind Colorado for the second wild card in the National League. Bumgarner has posted a 2.78 ERA in nine starts since returning from the disabled list in July and he will be facing St. Louis for the first time since Game 5 of the 2014 NL Championship Series, when he threw eight solid innings to help San Francisco claim the pennant. Nick Hundley’s walk-off homer gave the Giants the win Saturday, snapping the club’s four-game losing streak and evening the season series at three wins apiece. Promising rookie Luke Weaver gets the nod in the finale for the Cardinals.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), NBCSN Bay Area (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Luke Weaver (3-1, 2.48 ERA) vs. Giants LH Madison Bumgarner (3-6, 2.85)
Weaver has fanned 10 batters in each of his last two outings while allowing two runs over 12 2/3 innings. He has 33 strikeouts against six walks in 24 innings as a starter, limiting opponents to a .228 average. The 24-year-old will be facing the Giants for the first time this year and is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA on the road in 2017.
Bumgarner allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings last time out, but took the loss against Arizona. It marked the 10th time in 13 outings that he posted a quality start, although it was also the fourth time in the lefty’s last nine appearances that he surrendered more than one home run. The 28-year-old is 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals.
1. Fowler has tripled in each of the last two contests after going five games without an extra-base hit.
2. Giants RF Hunter Pence singled in his only at-bat Saturday and is 4-for-9 with three runs scored over his last three games.
3. Cardinals OF Tommy Pham (thumb) has missed two straight games and is day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Giants 4, Cardinals 3