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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, May 18th (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (22-16) at Los Angeles Dodgers (25-13), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Lance Lynn (6-1, 1.81) Los Angeles - Ted Lilly (5-0, 2.11)

(Sports Network) - Ted Lilly knows it was his offense that helped him post the longest winning streak of his career last weekend. The veteran will try to return the favor this evening when the Los Angeles Dodgers open up a three- game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Lilly has won eight straight decisions dating back to last season and hasn't lost since Sept. 12, with his 5-0 record through six outings this year is a personal best as well.

The left-hander didn't have his best stuff early last Sunday versus the Rockies, but still won his third straight start despite allowing a season-high four earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. Lilly's six hits given up were also a season high, but he got plenty of support in an 11-5 win.

"Going into the first inning, I felt good. I was pretty confident we were going to come back and score runs," said Lilly, who has a 2.11 earned run average on the season. "I enjoyed the way we swung the bats. We're just doing things necessary to win games."

The 36-year-old Lilly has done well against the Cardinals in his career, going 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 14 meetings.

While Lilly has yet to taste defeat this season, Cardinals hurler Lance Lynn will be looking to bounce back from his first setback of 2012.

The righty had won his first six starts before getting handed a 7-4 loss by the Braves on Sunday. Lynn was charged with three runs on four hits and three walks over six frames, fanning seven. He retired the final nine batters faced, but was forced to throw a season-high 121 pitches.

"I'd say [Lynn] had to fight pretty hard today," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "I thought he showed a lot by going out there and pitching as deep as he did."

Lynn, who turned 25 on May 12, has issued seven of his 14 walks this season over his past two outings and has a 1.81 ERA on the year. He faces the Dodgers for the first time.

The Cardinals lead the National League Central by 2 1/2 games over the Reds as they have lost five of their last seven. That includes Thursday's 7-5 defeat in San Francisco as Adam Wainwright allowed five runs -- two earned -- on six hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings.

"The first two innings (I had) two outs with guys on third and I didn't get out of it unscathed either time," said Wainwright. "That's something I pride myself on in my career and usually I'm pretty tough in that situation."

Matt Holliday had a two-run homer and a sac fly for the Cardinals, while Yadier Molina added a solo homer.

St. Louis played without both Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran in the starting lineup due to injury. Craig is day-to-day after sitting out Thursday's contest with a sore hamstring suffered the previous day, while Beltran has been out the starting lineup for four straight contests because of a sore right knee. He has been available to pinch-hit over that span.

The Dodgers avoided a season-high third straight loss yesterday, routing the Padres by an 8-1 margin. Aaron Harang hurled seven scoreless innings of four- hit ball, while A.J. Ellis knocked in two runs.

"The guys were out there playing and it was a collaboration of everybody," Harang said.

Bobby Abreu, Andre Either and Adam Kennedy each scored twice in support of Harang.

The Dodgers have won four straight over the Cardinals.

05/18 10:34:04 ET

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