National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, June 5th (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (28-27) at Houston Astros (23-31), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Jaime Garcia (3-3, 3.78) Houston - Lucas Harrell (4-4, 4.71)
(Sports Network) - Both the Cardinals and Astros were able to halt lengthy losing streaks their last time out. However, one club will fall right back into the loss column this evening when St. Louis and Houston open up a three- game series.
The Cardinals used the bat of Allen Craig to halt a season-high five-game slide with Monday's 5-4 win over the Mets. Craig had an RBI single in the fourth and connected on a two-run homer in the eighth frame.
"I was just trying to drive the ball, the pitch was a little up," Craig said. "I was trying to stay simple and I got a really good pitch to hit."
St. Louis avoided getting swept in four games by the Mets and had been held to just one run over the first three contests. New York set the tone for the series with Johan Santana's no-hitter in Friday's opener.
"It was a big win for us to get out of here and avoid the sweep," said starter Kyle Lohse, who gave up a run on two hits over six innings of a no-decision.. "Obviously I would like to get more wins than I've been getting lately, but there is nothing you can do about that. That's the way it worked out."
St. Louis sits three games back of first-place Cincinnati in the National League Central, while Houston is 7 1/2 games off the pace after snapping an eight-game slide with Sunday's 5-3 victory over the Reds.
Justin Maxwell connected on a pinch-hit, two-run homer, while Jason Castro, Marwin Gonzalez and Jordan Schafer all drove in runs in Houston's first victory since May 25.
Jordan Lyles gave up two runs on five hits and struck out three over seven frames to earn the win, while Brett Myers hurled a perfect ninth inning for his 13th save.
"[Lyles] was absolutely outstanding, from jump street," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "[Saturday] we were lamenting about how many first-inning runs we were giving up. He came right out and shut them down and started making pitches from jump street, and it was necessary."
Recent birthday boy Lucas Harrell will follow up Lyles' outing looking to rebound from his worst start of the season.
Harrell, who turned 27 on Sunday, lost for the first time in three starts on Wednesday in Colorado as he was drilled for season highs of nine runs and 10 hits over five innings. He served up two homers and walked three in falling to 4-4 with a 4.71 earned run average in 11 starts.
The right-hander did beat the Cardinals at home on May 4, giving up four runs -- three earned -- over 5 1/3 frames. That is part of his 3-0 record and 2.31 ERA in four outings at Houston this season.
The Cardinals counter with 25-year-old Jamie Garcia, who makes his first start since May 26 after having an outing skipped due to elbow discomfort. The left- hander did have an MRI that showed no structural damage.
Garcia is 3-3 with a 3.78 ERA in 10 starts and that includes a loss to Houston on May 5. He gave up a season-high six runs over six frames, walking four and allowed four hits, including the only homer he has allowed this season.
Garcia is winless in his career versus the Astros, going 0-4 with a 6.89 ERA in six starts.
The Astros have won five of their past eight versus the Cardinals, including two of three at home in early May.
06/05 10:44:20 ET