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Masterson hopes to pitch Cards past Phillies

(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Cardinals have not been alone in first place in the NL Central all season. That could change Sunday, but a lot of the success for the Cards depends on Justin Masterson, who makes his fifth start with St. Louis since being traded from Cleveland on July 30.

The Cardinals, who play the rubber match of a three-game set at Philadelphia, are a half-game behind Milwaukee for first place. St. Louis has been tied for first in the division on several occasions this year, but has never been alone at the top. The Brewers host Pittsburgh this afternoon.

Masterson is coming off a no-decision against Cincinnati Monday, but he did get a road win against Miami five days prior. He is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in three previous games against the Phillies.

Jerome Williams counters for the Phillies. Selected on a waiver claim on Aug. 10, Williams threw seven solid innings Monday in a home win over Seattle. He's 3-4 with a 5.85 ERA in nine games (eight starts) against the Cardinals.

"My game plan really wasn't working earlier in the year, that's why I'm on my third team," Williams said. "We're just using the same weapons I have, but we're just moving the ball everywhere and anywhere. I've had success with that."

Last night, Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly in the top of the 12th inning gave the Cardinals a 6-5 win, their eighth in 10 games.

Daniel Descalso drew a leadoff walk against Ken Giles (2-1) and eventually scored on Carpenter's deep fly to left field.

Jhonny Peralta hit a solo homer for the Cardinals, who dropped the opener of the three-game series 5-4 on Friday night. Seth Maness (5-2) worked two innings for the win and Trevor Rosenthal stranded a runner in the bottom of the 12th to earn his 38th save.

"It would have been a tough one to lose," Cards manager Mike Matheny said on his team's website. "Felt the same way (Friday). The guys fought hard and kept coming. They did a really nice job coming back after the game got tied."

Ryan Howard had a solo homer and Marlon Byrd hit a game-tying, two-run single in the eighth inning for the Phillies.

The teams have split six meetings this season.

A victory by the Phillies today would allow them to win back-to-back series for the first time since April 21-24 (3-1 at LOS) and April 25-27 (2-1 at ARI). On the other hand, the Cardinals have not won a series at Citizens Bank Park since sweeping a three-game set in April of 2006.

08/24 08:04:22 ET