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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, July 4 (All times Eastern)

Miami Marlins (41-44) at St. Louis Cardinals (46-40), 7:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Miami - Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 3.71) St. Louis - Lance Lynn (8-6, 3.38)

(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams looking to keep pace in their respective divisions will meet up at Busch Stadium on Friday night when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Miami Marlins in the opener of a three-game set.

Miami entered Friday six games back in the NL East, while St. Louis is five games off the pace in the NL Central.

The Cardinals salvaged a 5-5 road trip after winning the final two games of their three-game series against San Francisco this week.

After totaling just six runs over their previous six games, the Cardinals offense broke out in a big way on Thursday with 14 hits to claim a 7-2, series-clinching win over San Francisco. Jhonny Peralta provided a spark with a two-run homer in the first inning and Yadier Molina went 3-for-4 in support of winning pitcher Carlos Martinez, who allowed one run in five innings while striking out six.

"That kind of set the tone and we found a way to pile it on," Matt Carpenter said of Peralta's first-inning blast.

Miami missed out on a chance to sweep Philadelphia on Thursday as the Phillies scored twice in the ninth inning to hand the Marlins a 5-4 loss. The Marlins had taken a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth after an RBI groundout by Casey McGehee and an RBI triple by Jeff Baker. But a half-inning later, Miami closer Steve Cishek gave those two runs right back on a fielder's choice and an RBI groundout for his second blown save of the season. The go-ahead run scored when second baseman Donovan Solano bobbled a grounder.

"We had it right there," Cishek said. "We were down pressing for first place, trying to get up there in the division. Can't have that happen."

Toeing the rubber for Miami in Friday's series opener is right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who threw a season-high 113 pitches across seven innings against Oakland in his last start. After giving up four runs in the first, Eovaldi settled down and yielded just one more run over the next six innings for a no- decision.

Eovaldi is winless in two career starts against St. Louis with a 3.21 ERA in 11 2/3 innings.

For St. Louis, Lance Lynn will try to rebound from an abbreviated outing that saw him give up six runs on nine hits and get the hook after only two innings at Dodger Stadium. A blister opened up on the middle finger of Lynn's pitching hand, and he was unable to overcome both that and the Dodgers lineup.

"Honestly, I have blister problems every time I start," Lynn said. "I'm missing a lot of the top part of my (middle) finger - the whole tip, pretty much. I think it dried out and it just ripped off. But that's a part of pitching. You try to get through those things, and I wasn't able to do that."

"Everything looks good," manager Mike Matheny said. "It's something we'll have to continue to keep an eye on. Those things can end up causing you more trouble than what you want. But he seems to be toughening up that weak skin."

This marks the first meeting of the season between these two teams. The Cards won four of six against Miami in 2013.

07/04 10:31:38 ET