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Cardinals resume series with visiting Mets

(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging St. Louis Cardinals look to stay hot on Tuesday night when they resume their three-game set with the New York Mets at Busch Stadium.

Standing in the Cardinals' way is Mets southpaw Jon Niese, who boasts a 2.54 ERA in 13 starts this season and has pitched at least seven innings in four of his last five starts. Niese has gotten even stronger in the month of June with a 1.99 ERA for the month, although he is winless in his last four outings.

Most recently, the southpaw tossed 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball against Milwaukee on Thursday, striking out eight while walking only one. However, the Mets eventually lost that game when the bullpen gave up four runs in the 13th inning.

Meanwhile, Cardinals starter Michael Wacha will try to rebound from a shaky outing at Tampa Bay on Wednesday. The right-hander was tagged for four earned runs in five innings as he was hurt by four walks. Entering that game, Wacha had not allowed more than three runs in any of his first 13 starts.

"It's not going to happen very often; Michael has been very consistent," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said after that game. "Regardless of what his record shows, he's done a nice job keeping us in games. This was one of the blips on the screen that you just have to get past."

While Wacha is winless through seven road starts this season, he is 4-0 at home with a 2.42 ERA.

The Cardinals have won four straight and seven of eight overall after Monday's 6-2 victory over New York in the series opener. Jon Jay scored three runs and Matt Holliday notched his 1,000th career RBI as part of a four-run fifth inning. Matt Adams failed to extend his home run streak to four straight games since coming off the disabled list, although he did go 2-for-4 with a triple and a pair of RBI.

Carlos Martinez started in place of Adam Wainwright (tendinitis) and pitched four shutout innings, while Nick Greenwood came on in relief and threw 3 1/3 frames of one-run ball.

The Mets offense managed only five hits for the game after manager Terry Collins batted starting pitcher Jacob deGrom in the eighth spot. Collins did not say whether he would employ the same strategy with Niese on Tuesday.

The Mets won three of four against St. Louis when these teams met up at Citi Field from April 21-24. Niese earned his first win of the season against the Cards on April 23 when he allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings.

06/17 11:04:08 ET

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