In games where the St. Louis Cardinals hit homers and pitch well [url=http://www.authenticschicagobears.com/cheap-joel-iyiegbuniwe-jersey]Joel Iyiegbuniwe Color Rush Jersey[/url] , they generally walk off the field with a win.
But on nights where they can’t connect with the long ball, they don’t consistently make up for it with situational hitting or defense. Friday night’s 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves was another example of that trend rearing its ugly head.
After failing to cash in leadoff walks in the bottom of the first against Braves starter Julio Teheran, St. Louis simply couldn’t crack the code. It eventually caught up with the Cardinals as they were held to one run for their second straight game.
For St. Louis (42-38) to even the series Saturday night at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals will have to do a better job of converting runners in scoring position into runs while not giving up extra outs defensively. The Cardinals’ three errors Friday night marked their 17th multi-error game in 80 games.
St. Louis is on a pace to commit more than 130 miscues this year, continuing a three-season trend of below-average defense. Permitting good teams like Atlanta (46-34) four or five outs in an inning is a recipe for disaster.
The Braves started a 10-game road trip with a positive result. Third baseman Johan Camargo was the offensive star, going 3-for-5 with two runs and a two-run double off Jordan Hicks in the eighth that broke open a 1-0 game.
“Baseball is all about its ups and downs,” Camargo said. “For me, it’s all about maintaining the focus and just staying the path.”
Atlanta essentially heeded Camargo’s credo, bouncing back from consecutive series losses against last-place teams Baltimore and Cincinnati. It will turn to left-hander Max Fried (0-2, 4.09 ERA) on Saturday to secure a series win.
Fried is replacing veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who was put on the 10-day disabled list Thursday with a knee injury. A former first-round pick of San Diego, Fried will make his first start since going five innings and giving up one earned run on May 28 in a no-decision against the New York Mets.
It will be the second career appearance against the Cardinals for Fried, who last year tossed a scoreless inning in relief against them.
Right-hander Luke Weaver (4-6, 4.59) will look for his second straight win for St. Louis. Weaver shrugged off a rough first inning Sunday in Milwaukee to grab an 8-2 win, fanning a season-high nine over 5 2/3 innings while yielding two runs off five hits and two walks.
Weaver needed 32 pitches to make it through a two-run first inning, but started finding the range with his off-speed pitches. That made his fastball play bigger, and he rolled through the middle innings while the Cardinals bombed Jhoulys Chacin out of the box with five runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
“The first inning [url=http://www.authenticschicagobears.com/cheap-roquan-smith-jersey]Roquan Smith Color Rush Jersey[/url] , it was like, ‘Here we go again.’ It means a lot for him to right the ship,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny told mlb.com.
Weaver, who snapped a seven-start winless streak in Milwaukee, will make his first career appearance against the Braves.
SAN FRANCISCO — Two teams expecting key pitchers to be ready for their regular duties clash Saturday afternoon when the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants lock horns for the third time in their four-game series.
The clubs have split the first two games, with the Cardinals doing pretty much all the hitting in an 11-2 shellacking on Thursday night, before the Giants got the better of a pitchers’ duel in a 3-2 victory on Friday.
Two days after watching Johnny Cueto get rocked in his return from the disabled list, Jeff Samardzija is expected to make his first start for the Giants since May 29.
Samardzija (1-4, 6.56) struggled through pectoral and shoulder soreness in April and May before being shelved.
“I always willed myself through little injuries and pains here and there along the way,” Samardzija told SFGate.com. “I thought with a little break, I’d be fine. It just ended up being an uphill battle the whole time. We feel back to normal.”
He pitched well against the Cardinals last season, allowing a total of one run and seven hits in 15 innings in two starts, striking out 17.
He didn’t get a decision in either game, both of which the Giants won.
Samardzija has faced the Cardinals 23 times in his career, 12 times as a starter, and has a 4-4 record with a 3.68 ERA.
The veteran’s return means the Giants will have their three top guns — Madison Bumgarner, Cueto and Samardzija — in the rotation at the same time for the first time this season.
Samardzija will be opposed by Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez (5-4 [url=http://www.authenticschicagobears.com/cheap-anthony-miller-jersey]Anthony Miller Color Rush Jersey[/url] , 3.20), who is coming off consecutive strong outings against Cleveland and Arizona, giving up a total of four runs in 12 innings in a pair of wins.
He will be pitching in San Francisco for just the second time in his career, having allowed one run in five innings in a Cardinals win in 2014.
Martinez is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in his career against the Giants in five games, including three starts.
The 26-year-old has dominated his head-to-heads with several of the Giants’ top hitters, including Buster Posey (1-for-9, .111) and Andrew McCutchen (7-for-39, .179). McCutchen delivered the eventual game-winning hit in Friday’s San Francisco win.
St. Louis welcomed back Paul DeJong from the DL on Friday and he responded immediately with a hit and scored both of the Cardinals’ runs.
The standout second baseman had been out for seven weeks with a fractured hand.
The Cardinals didn’t have closer Bud Norris available to them in the first two games of the series after he experienced pain in his right index finger in Arizona on Wednesday.
Norris, a San Francisco Bay Area native, underwent an MRI on Friday and was cleared to remain on the active roster.
He threw a side session before Friday’s game and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced he would be available to pitch on Saturday.
“At this point in this season, we’re going to get every look at every guy we can,” Matheny said of recent roster shuffling that included the return outfielder Dexter Fowler from the DL on Thursday. “Whenever they get a runny nose, I think we’ll have two different doctors check it out. It’s that kind of year. Be cautious when we can.”
Fowler hasn’t started either game in the series, but is a candidate to play Saturday based on his five career extra-base hits, including a home run, in 33 at-bats against Samardzija.
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