St. Louis at Pittsburgh

Venue: PNC Park
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A month ago, Joe Kelly helped the St. Louis Cardinals avoid being swept in a five-game series at Pittsburgh.

Facing a more potent Pirates lineup with newly acquired slugger Justin Morneau on Sunday, Kelly looks to continue his recent success as a starter and again help the Cardinals avoid being swept in Pittsburgh for the first time in almost five years.

Pittsburgh (79-56) outscored St. Louis 22-7 to win four straight before Kelly (6-3, 2.91 ERA) allowed three hits in six innings of the 13-0 victory Aug. 1 to help the visitors avoid the five-game sweep.

The Pirates have outscored the Cardinals (78-57) 12-1 through two this weekend to move one game ahead in the NL Central race. A.J. Burnett threw seven strong innings and Neil Walker had three hits as Pittsburgh moved within three victories of its first winning season since 1992 with Saturday's 7-1 victory.

"It's a great feat,'' Burnett said. "It's been a long time, but our goals have been higher than that.''

Pittsburgh, however, must get by Kelly in order to sweep its first home series from the Cardinals since Sept. 12-14, 2008.

Kelly is 6-0 with a 2.24 ERA in nine starts since joining the rotation July 6, and he's allowed three runs on two homers over 18 innings while winning three straight outings overall. The right-hander gave up a solo shot in the fifth inning and lasted one more frame during Tuesday's 6-1 victory over Cincinnati.

"He just keeps making good starts for us," manager Mike Matheny said.

Kelly, though, faces a Pittsburgh lineup with newcomer Marlon Byrd and Morneau, who was acquired from Minnesota on Saturday in exchange for outfielder Alex Presley.

Morneau, who played only for Minnesota since breaking in with the Twins in 2003, hit .259 with 17 homers and 74 RBIs in 127 games this season. He arrived at PNC Park in the middle of Saturday's game, but did not play.

"Everybody knows we got better with the addition of Justin,'' catcher Russell Martin said. "He's an ex-MVP. He knows what he's doing out there. He's going to give you a productive at-bat and he lengthens the middle of the order.''

Byrd, acquired along with John Buck from the New York Mets on Tuesday, is 5 for 16 with four RBIs for his new team.

Allen Craig had two of the six hits Saturday for the Cardinals, who have totaled one run and 15 hits during a three-game slide that followed a stretch of nine wins in 11 contests.

"I like what our offense has done over the majority of the season," Matheny said. "You don't want to take a couple of games and start making conclusions. We're just going to keep going about it.''

Catcher Yadier Molina ranks among the major league leaders with .328 average, but is 2 for 15 in his last four games overall and 0 for 15 in his last five at Pittsburgh.

Kris Johnson is slated to make his first career start for the Pirates in the finale. In his major league debut out of the bullpen, the left-hander allowed two runs and struck out five while pitching the 11th through the 16th innings of a 4-2 loss to Arizona on Aug. 18.

Copyright 2016 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

Joe Kelly, RHP
2013 stats
89.2 Innings Pitched 6.0
6-3 Wins-Losses 0-1
2.91 Earned Run Average 3.00
34 Walks 2
59 Strikeouts 5
92 Pitches Per Start 0.0
Career vs. opponent
20.0 Innings Pitched -
1-2 Wins-Losses ---
4.50 Earned Run Average -

Kris Johnson, LHP
Weather
weather image  Widely scattered tstorms. Cloudy. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
81°F70°F8mph/SW72%69%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
St. Louis1st NL Central10062.617-4-6 L 3
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central9864.60526-4 W 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Kris Johnson
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Axford000000
Beltran000000
Carpenter000000
Choate000000
Craig000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Joe Kelly
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Martin221001.000
Sanchez110101.000
Harrison53000.600
Morton21001.500
Tabata52031.400
 

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Injuries
St. Louis
PlayerInjury
C. MartinezShoulder
J. WaldenShoulder
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
B. CumptonElbow
D. GuerraKnee
C. HartShoulder
G. HernandezShoulder
J. KangKnee
A. LamboFoot
J. SellersAchilles
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 3PIT 1:05 PM EDT  
Apr 5PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Apr 6PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
May 6STL 8:15 PM EDT  
May 7STL 2:15 PM EDT  
May 8STL 2:15 PM EDT  
Jun 10PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jun 11PIT 7:15 PM EDT  
Jun 12PIT 5:05 PM EDT  
Jul 4STL 2:15 PM EDT  
Jul 5STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Jul 6STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Jul 7STL 1:45 PM EDT  
Sep 5PIT 4:05 PM EDT  
Sep 6PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 7PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 30STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Oct 1STL 4:15 PM EDT  
Oct 2STL 3:15 PM EDT