The St. Louis Cardinals aren't shy about working overtime in their pursuit of a National League Central title. After following a 15-inning marathon loss on Thursday with a 10-inning triumph the next night, the Cardinals look to extend their lead in the division on Saturday, when they continue their three-game series with the host Milwaukee Brewers. Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly provided the winning run in the series opener as St. Louis overcame a five-RBI performance from Aramis Ramirez to claim a 7-6 victory.
St. Louis defeated Milwaukee for the 13th time in 17 meetings to reduce its magic number for clinching a postseason berth to two while extending its division lead over both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to two games. Not all is rosy, however, as the Cardinals watched closer Edward Mujica blow his second save opportunity in as many days. Milwaukee was unable to capitalize, however, and fell to 5-3 on its 10-game homestand.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (13-10, 4.18 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Yovani Gallardo (11-9, 4.29)
Lynn has turned in a pair of solid outings but has been unable to post his first win since Aug. 4. After striking out 10 versus Milwaukee on Sept. 11, he yielded two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision against Colorado five days later. Lynn sputtered versus the Brewers on Aug. 20, allowing six runs on nine hits over six frames in a 6-3 setback.
Gallardo notched five consecutive quality starts since coming off the disabled list prior to his last outing. The 27-year-old permitted five runs on seven hits over six innings in a no-decision against Cincinnati last Saturday. Gallardo struggled in a pair of outings versus St. Louis this season, yielding six runs in a loss on April 13 before allowing four runs in six innings of a no-decision on May 4.
1. St. Louis 1B Matt Adams, who returned to the lineup after nursing elbow discomfort, belted a go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth inning on Friday. The blast was his 15th of the season and fourth in 10 contests.
2. Ramirez is 2-for-10 versus Lynn this season.
3. Former Brewer John Axford secured the win in the series opener, while Michael Blazek absorbed the loss. Blazek was the player to be named in the deal involving the relievers that was completed earlier this month.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Brewers 3