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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, September 22nd (All times eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (80-71) at Chicago Cubs (59-92), 1:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Adam Wainwright (13-13, 3.97) Chicago - Travis Wood (6-12, 4.25)

(Sports Network) - With the Milwaukee Brewers closing the gap in the National League wild card race, it's imperative the St. Louis Cardinals get a good start from Adam Wainwright this afternoon.

Wainwright, who is 0-3 over his last four starts and hasn't won since Aug. 26 at Cincinnati, returns to the mound to face the Chicago Cubs in the middle installment of a three-game series.

The right-hander has sparkled during his career at Wrigley Field, going 5-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 13 games (8 starts). He's 6-5 lifetime against the Cubs.

The Cardinals enter the day 1 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee and two in front of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second wild card spot.

St. Louis had a four-game winning streak broken Friday in a 5-4 final in 11 innings. David DeJesus had four hits, including the game-winning RBI single. Darwin Barney sent the game into extra innings with a two-out, two-run homer off Fernando Salas in the bottom of the ninth, robbing Chris Carpenter of a win in his season debut.

Carpenter hadn't appeared on a big-league mound since winning Game 7 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers last October. The veteran right-hander wasn't expected to pitch this season after shoulder issues led to a surgical procedure in July.

Instead, Carpenter held the Cubs to a pair of runs over five innings in his return. He threw 77 pitches and left with a 3-2 lead.

"My stuff wasn't as sharp as I'd like and it wasn't as sharp as it has been but I did the best I could to get as many outs as I could and give us a chance," said Carpenter. "It was fun to get back out there."

Darwin Barney homered and knocked in three runs for the Cubs, who broke a four-game losing streak.

"It's good for us to beat a team like them," said Barney. "The atmosphere was fun. It's good playing games that matter."

Travis Wood, who was on the wrong end of a 3-0 score on Monday against the Pirates, starts for the Cubs. He's 2-2 with a 5.64 ERA in five games versus St. Louis. Wood has started twice against the Cardinals this season, losing both times and pitching to an 11.45 ERA.

The Cardinals are 8-7 versus the Cubs this season despite losing five of seven in Chicago.

09/22 10:32:56 ET

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