(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals are back in the Gateway City after
a lengthy sojourn and will commence a nine-game homestand tonight with the
first of three straight interleague matchups with the Cleveland Indians.
Taking the mound in tonight's series opener for the Cardinals will be former
Indians starter Jake Westbrook. Westbrook spent nine-plus seasons with the
Tribe before coming to St. Louis via a three-team, four-player deal in July of
2010. Westbrook, who went 2-0 with a 2.73 earned run average against the AL
Central last year, is 0-3 with an 8.28 ERA in his last five starts overall --
all St. Louis defeats.
The Cardinals hope Westbrook can turn it on Friday and get back to his usual
dominant form. In his latest outing on Sunday, Westbrook allowed five runs in
five innings for a second straight start in a 6-1 loss against the New York
Mets at Citi Field. The setback dropped him to 4-5 in 11 starts this season
and raised his ERA to 4.23. Westbrook is 2-1 in five home starts.
St. Louis went just 4-6 on a 10-game road trip against the Braves, Mets and
Astros, and recently took two of three from Houston. Cardinals starters Adam
Wainwright and Lance Lynn have pitched the ballclub to back-to-back victories,
while Lynn toed the rubber in Thursday's 14-2 pounding of the 'Stros at Minute
Maid Park. Lynn struck out a career-high 11 batters and posted his team-
leading ninth win of the season with six innings of two-run ball.
"Lance was good. You could tell he felt really good today," said Cardinals
manager Mike Matheny. "The ball was jumping out of his hand."
Reigning World Series MVP David Freese hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run
seventh inning and added a two-run homer in the ninth, while Rafael Furcal
finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI, Carlos Beltran hit his NL-best 16th
homer, had two RBI and scored twice and Shane Robinson added a two-run shot
for St. Louis, which has won three of four games and is tied with Pittsburgh
at two games off the lead in the NL Central. Cincinnati is currently on top in
Allen Craig collected three hits, two runs batted in and scored twice in the
win. Yadier Molina posted a hit and a run scored. and is 15-for-39 with two
home runs and nine RBI in his last 11 games.
The Cardinals will also host the White Sox and Royals on their homestand.
Cleveland opened a nine-game road trip by taking two of three in Detroit and
is 1 1/2 games behind Chicago in the AL Central.
The Indians, however, are coming off Thursday's 7-5 setback at Comerica Park
in which starting pitcher Derek Lowe was roughed up for seven runs and nine
hits over five innings.
"They took advantage of a lot of poor pitches," Lowe said. "A lot of sinkers
up in the zone and they were ultra-aggressive in the first inning, hence the
reason they were up four runs in the first. That is a pretty big hole."
Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Lopez both knocked in a pair of runs for the
Indians, who have lost eight of 12 games. Michael Brantley extended his
hitting streak to 15 games with a 1-for-4 performance and is batting .357 with
14 RBI during the run. He had a 19-game streak from Aug. 30-Sept. 19, 2010.
Cleveland, which will also visit Cincinnati, is slated to send Josh Tomlin to
the mound tonight and he is 2-3 with a 5.32 earned run average in eight games,
seven of which have been starts. Tomlin lost to Minnesota the last time out in
a 7-4 decision on Saturday and gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings.
Tomlin, a right-hander, was coming off a win over Kansas City and has never
faced the Cardinals in his career. He is 1-0 in three games (2 starts) away
from Progressive Field this season and 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four interleague
starts during his career.
Cleveland and St. Louis are meeting for the first time since the Indians won
two of three meetings at home back in 2009. Cleveland has gone 12-5 all-time
against St. Louis, which includes a 6-3 mark as the guest.
The Sports Network