Thome will look to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their eighth straight win over the Cardinals when the teams meet in the middle game of their series at Busch Stadium.
On Friday, Thome homered twice as the Phillies snapped a three-game losing streak with a 9-4 win. The veteran slugger, who has hit five homers in his last four games against the Cardinals, is batting .449 (22-for-49) with 13 homers and 27 RBIs in his career against St. Louis.
“Everybody asks me and says that I own these guys,” Thome said. “I think the problem is we think a little too much about it and talk a little too much about it.
“It’s the same from a preparation standpoint whether it’s the Cardinals or anybody else.”
“I won’t say we were in trouble, but we really needed this,” Thome said after Friday’s win. “You can’t mope and you can’t dwell on what’s happened in the past, you just have to worry about what’s happening and just go forward.”
With the win, Philadelphia increased its lead over the Florida Marlins to 1 1/2 games in the NL wild-card race.
While Thome and Burrell put on a show Friday, Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols went 0-for-5, snapping his 30-game hitting streak. Pujols, whose streak was the longest in the majors this season, had missed the previous four games because of flu-like symptoms and a suspension.
“I felt good,” Pujols said. “I can’t make an excuse that I went 0-for-5 because I had a week off. I got my pitches to hit and I didn’t do anything with them.”
The Cardinals now hope to get a boost from the return of starter Matt Morris, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a broken hand and sprained left ankle since July 22.
After Morris reported no problems in a simulated game on Thursday, manager Tony La Russa decided to start him on Saturday.
“I think I’m just working on putting up with the pain,” Morris said of his ankle injury. “We’ll put some tape on it and see how it feels. If I can land on it, why not pitch?”
STANDINGS: Phillies - 2nd place, 11 1/2 GB, NL East. Cardinals - 3rd place, 1 GB, NL Central.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Amaury Telemaco (1-0, 2.57 ERA). Making his first appearance in two seasons, Telemaco was dominant against the Cardinals on Sunday. The 29-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings in a 6-4 win. Telemaco was 10-9 with a 3.24 ERA at Triple-A Scranton.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Morris (8-6, 4.16 ERA). In six career games against the Phillies, Morris is 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .320 avg.; Thome, 36 HRs, 99 RBIs and 84 runs; Bobby Abreu and Jimmy Rollins, 16 SBs. Cardinals - Pujols, .367 avg., 34 HRs, 108 RBIs and 108 runs; Edgar Renteria, 25 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 4-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - RF Abreu is batting .432 (16-for-37) during a nine-game hitting streak. … With his two homers on Friday, 1B Thome set a new single-season record for Phillies first basemen. Deron Johnson had hit 34 in 1971. … SS Rollins is 1-for-12 (.083) in his career against RHP Morris. Cardinals - The Cardinals acquired both LHP Sterling Hitchcock and RHP Mike DeJean in separate trades Friday. They sent two prospects to the New York Yankees for Hitchcock and acquired DeJean from the Brewers for two players to be named. … RHP Jimmy Journell has had a sore shoulder since he last pitched on Sunday. He expects to be out a few more games. … SS Renteria is batting .154 (2-for-13) in his career against RHP Telemaco.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 31-31 on the road; Cardinals - 36-27 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - 3B David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL. Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; INF Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF J.D. Drew (oblique), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (calf), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (foot), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL.