The Cardinals will take the field for the middle game of their series with the Cincinnati Reds winners of nine of 13 and owners of the best record in the National League.
St. Louis has also won a season-high six straight at Busch Stadium, including a 4-0 mark on its current nine-game homestand.
“With their 3-4-5 hitters, it’s hard to not let them score,” said Reds starter Cory Lidle, referring to Pujols, Rolen and Jim Edmonds, who went a combined 6-for-11 on Monday. “They’ve got a great lineup.”
While the Cardinals are a season-high 18 games above .500, Griffey and the Reds have struggled. The All-Star outfielder is stuck in a 5-for-37 slump with no homers and just one RBI since hitting his 500th homer on June 20. He has also missed five starts due to cramps in his calf.
“I didn’t have to hit the reset button after 500 emotionally, but I was swinging at pitches I don’t normally swing at,” Griffey said. “You find yourself pressing to get your average up, but when you relax and keep working the hits come.”
Griffey just missed going deep in the ninth inning in the series opener Monday but the ball was ruled foul. Griffey, Barry Larkin and Adam Dunn finished a combined 1-for-10 with three strikeouts and a double play.
Larkin, who is hitting .333 (15-for-45) with 11 RBIs in his last 13 games, drove in the lone run for Cincinnati, which has lost 11 of 14 on the road.