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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 2015 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
Atlanta4th NL East6795.414236-4 W 3
St. Louis1st NL Central10062.617-4-6 L 3
vs Adam Wainwright
vs Kris Medlen

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Series Game Log
Apr 5CHCSTL 3-0Wainwright Lester 
Apr 7CHCPPD   
Apr 8CHCCHC 2-0Arrieta Lynn 
May 4STLSTL 10-9Socolovich Strop 
May 5STLSTL 7-4Harris Jackson 
May 6STLCHC 6-5Lester Lynn 
May 7STLSTL 5-1Lackey Arrieta 
Jun 26STLSTL 3-2Maness Grimm 
Jun 27STLSTL 8-1Wacha Roach 
Jun 28STLSTL 4-1Martinez Hammel 
Jul 6CHCSTL 6-0Lackey Lester 
Jul 7CHCCHC 7-4Arrieta Lyons 
Jul 7CHCCHC 5-3Wood Maness 
Jul 8CHCSTL 6-5Socolovich Strop 
Sep 7STLCHC 9-0Haren Lynn 
Sep 8STLCHC 8-5Hammel Wacha 
Sep 9STLSTL 4-3Broxton Richard 
Sep 18CHCCHC 8-3Hunter Maness 
Sep 19CHCCHC 5-4Cahill Wacha 
Sep 20CHCSTL 4-3Martinez Lester 
Oct 9STLSTL 4-0Lackey Lester 
Oct 10STL 5:37 PM EDT  
Oct 12CHC 6:07 PM EDT  
Oct 13CHC 4:37 PM EDT  
Oct 15STL 4:37 PM EDT