MLB Insiders: St. Louis Cardinals

Charlie Morton

The Pirates open a three-game series with St. Louis on Friday night at PNC Park. Right-hander Charlie Morton will be on the hill for the Bucs. The Cardinals will toss right-hander Lance Lynn.

St. Louis, which had its four-game win streak snapped with Thursday's 6-3 loss to Cincinnati, has some injury issues. Center fielder Jon Jay left after the seventh inning with a sprained right shoulder and said X-rays showed no significant damage. He is day to day.

Pittsburgh could be in for a challenge against Lance Lynn (2-0, 1.50 ERA), who has been stellar in two starts filling in with Chris Carpenter on the disabled list. Lynn has struck out 13 over 12 innings, and he yielded one run over 5 1-3 innings in Saturday's 5-1 home win over the Cubs.

The right-hander's only appearance against the Pirates came as a rookie July 24, when he gave up one run over two innings of relief.

The Pirates are back home after winning three of four to cap a 3-6 trip. They have split eight one-run games, beating Arizona 5-4 on Tuesday and 2-1 on Wednesday.

Charlie Morton (0-0, 5.40) will make his second start for Pittsburgh after allowing three runs over five innings Saturday in a 4-3 loss at San Francisco.

The right-hander, who began this year on the disabled list while recovering from hip surgery, is 2-5 with a 6.25 ERA in nine starts against St. Louis.

The Cardinals, who went 9-7 against the Pirates last season, are a major league-best 5-0 in night games.

Right-hander Adam Wainwright was better Thursday than he was last week when he was pounded for eight runs in three innings by the Chicago Cubs. But he still gave up two home runs, as he did then.

And he still lost, 6-3 to the Cincinnati Reds.

After an impressive first three innings, when he held the Reds scoreless on two hits, Wainwright allowed a solo home run in the fourth to second baseman Brandon Phillips and a two-run drive later in the inning by former Cardinal Ryan Ludwick, the Reds' left fielder.

Philips knocked in another run with a single in the fifth and the Reds survived a three-run home run by Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday.

Wainwright (0-3), who hasn't won since September, 2010, because he missed the 2011 season after elbow surgery, walked one and struck out five while giving up seven hits over five innings. He had a high pitch count of 88 for that time.

Eleven of the 15 runs Wainwright has allowed this season have come on home runs.

"I'm just in a funk," Wainwright said. "You can say whatever you want to about surgery and all that. My arm feels fine. I'm just not throwing very well.

"The first three innings I did some things like I used to, like I did them in spring training. Then, in the fourth inning, I made some terrible pitches. The home run to Ludwick and the one to Phillips were not exactly what I'm trying to do there."

Manager Mike Matheny's take "was that he wasn't as sharp as he wanted to be again. It's part of this injury and part of the rehab process. You've got to feel your way through it and figure out how you're going to pitch on days when you don't feel quite right.

"But he's continuing to make good progress. We know what's there. He's just never had to deal with this before. He's real close."

Notes, Quotes

1B Lance Berkman will be placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a recurrence of his left calf strain.

CF Jon Jay sustained a right shoulder sprain after banging into the wall in vain pursuit of a home run and left the park with his arm in a sling.

INF/OF Skip Schumaker is being recalled from a four-game rehabilitation option for his strained right oblique and taken off the disabled list. Schumaker was pulled off a rehab option (strained right triceps) too quickly last year and it took him several weeks to find his stroke. But now he might have to play center field with Jon Jay possibly out for a while because of a right shoulder sprain. "The obvious answer, is that we do have a spot in center field that we didn't have going into the day," manager Mike Matheny said.

LF Matt Holliday, whose average had dropped into the .170s during a 0-for-11 slide, emerged with a bang in the sixth inning with a three-run home run. He later singled. "We didn't doubt that that was going to happen," manager Mike Matheny said.

SS Rafael Furcal finished an eight-hit series with two singles, raising his average to .364 and his on-base percentage to .397. Furcal is keeping the ball out of the air more now. "That's the way he used to play," said third-base coach Jose Oquendo of the 34-year-old Furcal. "(Last year), he was more into swinging free. Now he's into making good, solid contact. Hit line drives. That's the way he should play."

LHP J.C. Romero, who has been mostly a lef-thanded specialist for the Cardinals, worked a complete inning on Thursday. It was scoreless, giving Romero five scoreless outings covering three outings. He retired three right-handed hitters and allowed a hit to left-handed -hitting Cincinnati RF Jay Bruce.

By The Numbers: 5—Number of consecutive series won by Cardinals this season.

Quote To Note: "He switched gears. He started to get on top of the ball. When he goes, we do go. So it's nice to get him right." —Manager Mike Matheny, on hot-hitting SS Rafael Furcal.

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