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St. Louis at Cincinnati

Venue: Great American Ball Park
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The St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds could very well be the two teams taking the field for the NL wild-card game on Oct. 1.

For now, they'll meet one more time in the regular season on Thursday night as St. Louis tries to salvage a series split in Cincinnati.

The slumping Cardinals (80-59) needed two extra-inning homers from Matt Adams to secure a 5-4 victory in 16 innings on Wednesday. It was just their second victory in seven games, helping to preserve second place in the NL Central by 2 1/2 games in front of the Reds (78-62).

Both teams are in favorable positions to at least achieve berths in the wild-card game with Washington - the next-closest team in the standings - 6 1/2 games back of Cincinnati.

"That was just a character win," manager Mike Matheny said. "The guys just kept grinding, not giving up or giving in. The job the young bullpen did holding them down was impressive. That's one of those wins you don't forget."

The Reds are unlikely to forget about it either, but for the wrong reasons as it marks one of their biggest disappointments of the season.

"For sure,'' starter Bronson Arroyo said. "Definitely. When you play that many innings and have a couple of runners in scoring position ...''

Adams had been 0 for his last 17 before homering in the 14th inning. St. Louis squandered that lead when pinch-runner Billy Hamilton again stole a base and scored on a single in the bottom of the inning, but Adams went deep again two frames later, his 11th of the year.

The Cardinals hadn't homered in seven consecutive games, and are batting .185 over their last seven contests with 15 runs. The slump likely won't be helped by the loss of Allen Craig, who is being sent to St. Louis to be re-evaluated after leaving in the fourth inning Wednesday with a sprained left foot. X-rays were inconclusive for Craig, who is batting .357 with a .438 on-base percentage over his last 16 contests.

"Any time you're sending Allen Craig away it's not good news," Matheny said.

St. Louis' offense faces Tony Cingrani (6-3, 2.76 ERA), who makes his first start since a strained lower back limited him to 3 2-3 innings versus Arizona on Aug. 20. Greg Reynolds, who filled in for Cingrani for two starts, is available as a long reliever if Cingrani can't pitch deep into the game.

"He said he feels good, so we'll see," manager Dusty Baker told the team's website. "That's the same day that Reynolds is scheduled to pitch, so we'll see as far as he can go and how he feels. (We) talked to Reynolds about possibly piggybacking with Cingrani."

Cingrani had been rolling, going 3-2 with a 1.91 ERA in his last seven outings including the game against the Diamondbacks. He recorded 40 strikeouts over 37 2-3 innings in those contests while allowing 22 hits.

Meanwhile, Lance Lynn (13-9, 4.29) comes off one of the worst outings of his career after allowing seven runs and 10 hits over four innings of a 7-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday. Lynn has found himself off track lately, going 0-4 with a 6.83 ERA over his last five games.

Facing the Reds again could prove helpful considering he is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in four earlier matchups this season.

Jay Bruce is 5 for 12 lifetime off Lynn, though he, Joey Votto and Chris Heisey were a combined 0 for 19 on Wednesday.

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

Lance Lynn, RHP
2013 stats
172.0 Innings Pitched 97.2
13-9 Wins-Losses 6-3
4.29 Earned Run Average 2.76
65 Walks 39
162 Strikeouts 112
102 Pitches Per Start 97
Career vs. opponent
33.0 Innings Pitched 5.2
3-0 Wins-Losses 1-0
3.55 Earned Run Average 4.76

Tony Cingrani, LHP
Weather
weather image  Sunny. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
81°F59°F7mph/NE52%5%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
St. Louis1st NL Central8468.553-6-4 W 1
Cincinnati4th NL Central7182.46413 ½ 4-6 L 4
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Tony Cingrani
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Carpenter110001.000
Freese21011.500
Descalso21000.500
Holliday21010.500
Beltran31001.333
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Lance Lynn
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Latos110001.000
Ludwick21000.500
Bailey21000.500
Bruce125005.417
Cozart145201.357
 
Injuries
St. Louis
PlayerInjury
J. GarciaShoulder
S. RobinsonShoulder
M. WachaShoulder
Cincinnati
PlayerInjury
D. AxelrodOblique
H. BaileyElbow, neck
T. BellElbow
M. LatosElbow
S. MarshallShoulder
S. SchumakerShoulder
J. VottoQuadriceps
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Mar 31CINSTL 1-0Wainwright Cueto 
Apr 2CINCIN 1-0Hoover Martinez 
Apr 3CINSTL 7-6Lynn Bailey 
Apr 7STLSTL 5-3Wacha Cingrani 
Apr 8STLSTL 7-5Lynn Ondrusek 
Apr 9STLCIN 4-0Leake Miller 
May 23CINCIN 5-3Bailey Miller 
May 24CINSTL 6-3Garcia Cingrani 
May 25CINSTL 4-0Wainwright Leake 
Aug 18STLSTL 6-5Greenwood Ondrusek 
Aug 19STLSTL 5-4Neshek Hoover 
Aug 20STLSTL 7-3Lynn Cueto 
Sep 8CINSTL 5-0Miller Parra 
Sep 9CINCIN 9-5Leake Wacha 
Sep 10CINCIN 4-2Simon Lyons 
Sep 11CINCIN 1-0Cueto Lynn 
Sep 19STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 20STL 7:15 PM EDT  
Sep 21STL 8:05 PM EDT