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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, August 7th (All times eastern)
San Francisco Giants (59-50) at St. Louis Cardinals (60-49), 8:15 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: San Francisco - Barry Zito (8-8, 4.27) St. Louis - Lance Lynn (13-4, 3.40)
(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals are beginning to heat up and have won four of their last five series.
They will try to move closer to another series win tonight when they resume a four-game set versus the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals posted a three-game sweep of Milwaukee over the weekend, before handing the Giants an 8-2 loss in Monday's series opener.
Carlos Beltran homered, Jon Jay went 4-for-4 with two RBI and both David Freese and Matt Carpenter added two runs batted in for St. Louis, winners in 13 of the past 17 games. The defending World Series champions are unbeaten in their last seven games at Busch Stadium and sit just 2 1/2 games off a Wild Card spot with plenty of time remaining.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook earned his 11th win of the season (11-8) by holding San Francisco to a pair of runs in six innings. Edward Mujica, Fernando Salas and Brian Fuentes combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief to preserve the victory.
"He did a nice job, was down in the zone," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Westbrook.
The Cardinals are heating up in August and 15-13 in the month last year en route to another championship. They started August with a 5-2 mark in 2011.
Beltran is riding an eight-game hitting streak and is second in the National League with 26 home runs.
Looking to pitch the Cardinals to their 13th home win in 14 tries tonight will be Lance Lynn. Lynn has turned heads this season starting in place of injured ace Chris Carpenter and is 3-0 in his past five starts. He tossed six innings of two-run ball the previous time out in an 8-2 triumph at Colorado, striking out four and walking four batters.
Lynn is 13-4 with a 3.40 earned run average in 21 starts and lost his only career start against the Giants last June 2. In a 12-7 loss to San Francisco, Lynn allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander has won six of his eight starts at home this season.
San Francisco was fortunate that both Los Angeles and Arizona lost last night to maintain its slim lead atop the NL West standings. The club is just one- half game ahead of Los Angeles and four in front of Arizona.
The Giants were coming off a three-game weekend sweep of Colorado before dropping last night's series opener to St. Louis. Matt Cain didn't have his best stuff and was reached for five runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"I thought he competed well tonight," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Give them credit, that's a good-hitting ball club. He was a hit away from it being a one-run ballgame and he's done and it's a quality start."
Buster Posey and Angel Pagan both homered for the Giants, who have lost eight of their last 12 games. Posey has homered four times in his last five games and leads the majors with a .458 average and 27 RBI since the All-Star break.
San Francisco entered Monday's game averaging 5.08 runs per game on the road this season, the highest average in the NL.
Taking the mound for the Giants tonight will be left-hander Barry Zito. Zito is just 3-6 in his last nine decisions and lasted just 4 1/3 innings in a 9-1 loss to the New York Mets last Thursday. The southpaw allowed seven runs on six hits and three walks to drop to 8-8 with a 4.27 ERA in 21 starts, and has given up 14 runs over his past three trips to the hill.
"My timing was off, so my command was erratic today," Zito said after the start. "At times it was there, but at times the ball was up in the zone, and I wasn't commanding my off-speed [pitches] like I usually do."
Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with Oakland, hasn't fared too well in his career against St. Louis, going 1-6 with a 5.23 ERA in eight starts.
The Cardinals and Giants split two games at AT&T Park back in May, but San Francisco has won six of the past 10 meetings between the clubs.
08/07 10:49:39 ET