The St. Louis Cardinals may have gotten the spark they needed in the second game of their three-game interleague series and look to build off that emotion in the rubber match against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. After losing four of five, the Cardinals rallied from two runs down in the eighth inning Saturday to forge a tie before getting a walk-off, two-run homer from Tommy Pham for a 6-4 victory.
Kolten Wong extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single in the eighth inning and Yadier Molina recorded multiple hits for the fourth time in eight games for St. Louis, which trails the first-place Chicago Cubs by 4 1/2 games in the National League Central. The Cardinals, who are five games out in the race for the NL’s second wild card, send Lance Lynn to the mound in the series finale against All-Star Chris Archer, who goes after his 10th victory. The Rays missed an opportunity to make up ground in the American League wild-card race with Saturday’s loss and remain three games out despite belting three home runs. Corey Dickerson hit one of the blasts for Tampa Bay and is 10-for-19 with three homers during his five-game hitting streak.
TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Chris Archer (9-7, 3.76 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (10-6, 3.17)
Archer struck out 10 for the second straight start while allowing just one earned run and four hits over six innings to defeat Toronto on Tuesday for just his second win in nine outings. The 28-year-old North Carolina native has gone over 200 strikeouts (217) for the third straight season and completed at least six frames in 17 of his last 18 turns. Archer, who will be facing St. Louis for the first time, is 6-7 with a 2.88 ERA in 17 interleague starts.
Lynn is unbeaten in his last nine outings but saw his streak of eight straight quality starts come to an end Tuesday against San Diego as he gave up four runs over six innings in a no-decision. The 30-year-old Ole Miss product walked just one in that game but issued a total of 16 free passes in his previous four starts. Danny Espinosa is 3-for-9 with two homers versus Lynn, who is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two career games (one start) against the Rays.
1. The Rays committed an error Saturday, spoiling a chance to tie the club record for consecutive games without one (10).
2. St. Louis 3B Jedd Gyorko left Saturday’s game in the eighth inning with a right hamstring injury and is day-to-day.
3. Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria is 9-for-26 with three extra-base hits during his six-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Rays 5, Cardinals 3