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Atlanta at St. Louis

Venue: Busch Stadium

Adam Wainwright appears to be back to his elite form for the St. Louis Cardinals, which doesn't bode well for an Atlanta Braves team struggling to score runs.

Wainwright looks to build on one of his best starts and lead the Cardinals to their sixth win in seven games Friday night against the visiting NL East leaders.

Matt Holliday continued his tear at Busch Stadium with two doubles as St. Louis won for only the second time in 10 regular-season meetings with a 6-2 victory in Thursday's series opener. He is batting .458 with four homers and 14 RBIs during a 14-game home hitting streak.

The Cardinals (74-53) remained one game behind Pittsburgh for the NL Central lead.

The Braves (77-50), meanwhile, have a comfortable 14-game bulge atop the East, but have totaled 11 runs and hit .237 while splitting their last four contests.

They might have a difficult time regrouping against Wainwright (14-7, 2.66 ERA), who ranks among the top 10 in the majors in ERA and strikeouts. After going 0-2 with a 4.18 ERA over his previous four starts, the All-Star right-hander fanned 11 while allowing one run and five hits over seven innings in beating the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Sunday.

"It's as good as he's been all season,'' manager Mike Matheny said. "He came out in the first and established all his pitches, had great life. His curveball was as sharp as we've seen it.''

Wainwright, however, has had some trouble with the Braves lately. Since winning his first six starts against them, he's allowed nine runs and 16 hits over 11 1-3 innings while dropping his last two. He struck out eight and gave up four runs over seven innings in a 4-1 loss at Atlanta on July 26.

Jason Heyward homered off Wainwright in that meeting, but he's sidelined at least four weeks after suffering a broken jaw after being hit by a pitch Wednesday.

Teammate Justin Upton belted his 24th home run Thursday after missing three games with a strained upper back. He's hitting .375 with eight homers and 17 RBIs in his last 18 games.

Chris Johnson (.330) is 4 for 11 in this matchup the past two seasons, but went 0 for 3 Thursday to fall behind St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina (.332) in the NL batting race.

Molina is expected to return to the lineup after Matheny rested him Thursday. He's 3 for 7 lifetime against Kris Medlen (10-11, 3.71), who will try to win his fifth straight start.

The right-hander made his first relief appearance Saturday, giving up a go-ahead home run to Adam LaRoche in the 15th inning of an 8-7 loss to Washington. He allowed one run and four hits over his three innings.

"It's a situation I've been in before," Medlen said. "Once you've experienced it before you want to get into the game and be part of it.''

Medlen's winning streak as a starter began July 28, when he limited the Cardinals to two runs in six innings of a 5-2 victory.

This time, he faces a St. Louis team that has averaged 6.2 runs and batted .294 over its last five games.

Carlos Beltran is 9 for 18 with two home runs over his last four games, while Matt Carpenter - who has posted 30 of his NL-leading 49 multihit games at home - is 15 for 29 with six doubles over his last six there.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Kris Medlen, RHP
2013 stats
148.0 Innings Pitched 189.2
10-11 Wins-Losses 14-7
3.71 Earned Run Average 2.66
38 Walks 25
115 Strikeouts 173
96 Pitches Per Start 105
Career vs. opponent
15.2 Innings Pitched 55.1
1-0 Wins-Losses 6-2
3.45 Earned Run Average 3.09

Adam Wainwright, RHP
weather image  Mostly sunny. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Atlanta2nd NL East7676.50011 ½ 2-8 W 1
St. Louis1st NL Central8368.550-6-4 L 1
vs Adam Wainwright
vs Kris Medlen
B. BeachyElbow
P. BeatoElbow
G. FloydElbow
E. GattisIllness
C. GearrinElbow
K. MedlenElbow
S. SimmonsShoulder
J. VentersElbow
St. Louis
J. GarciaShoulder
S. RobinsonShoulder
M. WachaShoulder
Series Game Log
Apr 14MILSTL 4-0Lynn Garza 
Apr 15MILSTL 6-1Miller Estrada 
Apr 16MILMIL 5-1Peralta Kelly 
Apr 28STLMIL 5-3Duke Maness 
Apr 29STLMIL 5-4Thornburg Siegrist 
Apr 30STLSTL 9-3Miller Garza 
Jul 11MILSTL 7-6Neshek Rodriguez 
Jul 12MILSTL 10-2Wainwright Nelson 
Jul 13MILMIL 11-2Peralta Martinez 
Aug 1STLMIL 7-4Peralta Wainwright 
Aug 2STLSTL 9-7Masterson Lohse 
Aug 3STLSTL 3-2Lackey Jeffress 
Sep 4MILSTL 3-2Gonzales Peralta 
Sep 5MILMIL 6-2Fiers Lackey 
Sep 6MILSTL 5-3Lynn Lohse 
Sep 7MILSTL 9-1Wainwright Nelson 
Sep 16STLMIL 3-2Kintzler Siegrist 
Sep 17STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 18STL 8:15 PM EDT