The Cardinals look to complete their first three-game road sweep of the season as they take on the struggling Pirates, owners of the worst home record in the National League.
The Cardinals, who have won five of their last seven games, boast a 15-4 all-time mark at PNC, which opened in 2001.
The Pirates, who have dropped 15 of 20 overall to slip a season-high 10 games below .500, are 3-13 in their last 16 at home. Only major league-worst Detroit, at 3-17, has played worse in its own ballpark.
Pirates center fielder Lofton singled leading off the first inning Saturday to extend his hitting streak to an NL season-high 22 games—one of the six longest streaks in team history. He is only five away from tying Jimmy Williams’ team-record 27-game streak in 1899.
Kip Wells was scheduled to start for the Pirates on Sunday, but will instead be replaced by Ryan Vogelsong, who has waited nearly two years to get back to the majors.
Wells, bothered by a blister on his pitching hand, was told Saturday he won’t start until next weekend in St. Louis. Vogelsong was recalled from Triple-A Nashville.
Considered the key to the deal that sent Jason Schmidt to San Francisco in July 2001, Vogelson blew out his right elbow in his second start with the Pirates and needed reconstructive surgery.
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 2nd place (tied), 1 1/2 GB, NL Central. Pirates - 5th place, 8 GB, NL Central.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Garrett Stephenson (3-3, 4.23 ERA). Stephenson allowed three runs and six hits over six innings in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss at Houston. The right-hander has made seven career starts against the Pirates, going 5-1 with a 3.55 ERA.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Vogelsong (no record). Vogelsong was 5-3 with a 5.03 ERA in nine starts this season at Nashville, striking out 61 in 53 2-3 innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Albert Pujols, .354 avg., 14 HRs and 40 runs; Pujols and Scott Rolen, 38 RBIs; Edgar Renteria, 5 SBs. Pirates - Lofton, .303 avg.; Reggie Sanders, 8 HRs; Randall Simon, 25 RBIs; Lofton, 29 runs and 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 2-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - Right-handed batters are hitting .194 aainst RHP Stephenson this season. … St. Louis is 8-10 thus far in its stretch of 26 consecutive games against the NL Central. … OF Pujols failed to drive in a run for the first time in nine games on Saturday. Pirates - To create a roster spot for RHP Vogelsong, the Pirates designated RHP Pat Mahomes for assignment— minutes after he pitched three shutout innings in Saturday’s loss. … OF Brian Giles is 4-for-14 with a home run and four RBIs in his career against RHP Stepehnson. … The Pirates sent minor league INF Kody Kirkland to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, completing the Nov. 25 trade for 1B Simon.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 11-15 on the road; Pirates - 7-19 at home.
INJURIES: Cardinals - C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Isringhausen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (pelvis), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL; C Joe Girardi (back), 60-day DL. Pirates - OF Matt Stairs (finger), 15-day DL; RHP Josh Fogg (abdominal), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Lincoln (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; IF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; IF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL.