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Volquez tries to snap skid as Pirates battle Cards

(SportsNetwork.com) - Edinson Volquez hopes to avoid a fourth straight losing start on Saturday evening as he gets the call for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle contest of a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

After allowing just six earned runs over his first five starts, Volquez has allowed 12 runs in back-to-back outings.

The first came in St. Louis, a 7-0 loss in which he lasted 5 2/3 innings, and the righty followed up by giving up six runs, seven hits and two homers for a second straight start, falling 7-2 to Toronto on Sunday. Volquez fell to 1-3 and his earned run average has gone from 1.93 following a loss to Cincinnati on April 22 to 4.19 after his most recent outing.

Volquez's setback to the Cardinals in late April dropped the 30-year-old to 3-6 against them lifetime with a 5.56 ERA in 12 starts.

The Cardinals turn to Lance Lynn, who is winless in three starts since opening the season 4-0.

The right-hander has followed up a loss to the New York Mets on April 24 with consecutive no-decisions and gave up two runs on three hits and four walks over six innings on Sunday at the Chicago Cubs. Lynn also struck out five in a game his club won 5-4.

Lynn, who turns 27 on Monday, is 4-1 with a 3.51 ERA on the season and 4-2 lifetime when facing the Pirates, posting a 5.03 ERA in 11 games (9 starts).

The Pirates took Friday's opener 6-4 thanks to Neil Walker's go-ahead, three- run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning. His seventh home run of the season came after the Cardinals got a solo shot from Jhonny Peralta in the top of the frame to go up by a run.

Walker had three hits and drove in four runs, while Ike Davis had a pair of RBI in Pittsburgh's season-high third straight win.

"Any comeback win is important," said Walker. "Our goal right now is to win a series, that's the most important thing."

Allen Craig ripped a three-run homer for the Cardinals, who came in having won three of four but went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

Craig, who did not start on Wednesday due to a slump, hit his fourth homer of the campaign. He had just two hits in his previous 21 at-bats before the home run.

"(Craig's) not that far off," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "(He) had a couple of hits today and hopefully it is something that will carry into tomorrow."

The Pirates have won four of the seven meetings this season, also taking two of three at home from April 4-6.

05/10 10:32:41 ET