Arizona (19-16) at St. Louis (23-13)

Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 37° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Sat May 13, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The St. Louis Cardinals have one of the best home records in the National League, but pitching in front of the home crowd has been anything but easy for Jason Marquis.

Marquis looks to avoid losing his fourth straight home game when the Cardinals continue their weekend series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.

St. Louis is 15-5 at new Busch Stadium, one-half game behind Houston for the best home mark in the NL. But Marquis (3-4, 6.00 ERA) has been on the mound for three of the Cardinals’ losses. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 7.83 ERA in four starts at home this season after allowing six runs and a season-high 10 hits over six innings of a 6-2 loss to Colorado on Monday.

Marquis opened the season with three straight wins, allowing six runs, 15 hits and four walks in 19 1-3 innings, but has since lost his last four starts. He has given up 22 earned runs, 33 hits and 13 walks in 22 2-3 innings during his losing streak as opponents are batting .355 against him.

“Of course it’s frustrating,” Marquis said after the loss to the Rockies. “Anytime you’re going out there and trying to get a job done and not doing it, it’s going to be frustrating.”

The seven-year veteran is 0-2 with a 2.93 ERA in four career starts against Arizona.

While Marquis looks to end his home losing streak, Diamondbacks (19-16) starter Claudio Vargas looks extend his road winning streak.

Vargas (4-2, 3.77 ERA), who will make his seventh start of the season, has yet to allow a run on the road. He is 2-0 in two road starts, allowing six hits in 13 innings in wins over Milwaukee and San Diego.

He has won his last three decisions, allowing two earned runs in 19 innings in those starts, and has never won four straight games in his four-year career.

The right-hander allowed one run on four hits in six innings, and retired 16 of the final 19 batters he faced in a 3-1 win over Cincinnati on Saturday.

Vargas is 1-3 with a 6.57 ERA in five career starts against the Cardinals, though, and had his shortest career start against St. Louis on July 30, 2003 when he allowed seven runs in one-third of an inning.

The Cardinals (23-13) won Friday’s series opener 5-3 and 18 of their last 24 games against Arizona.

Albert Pujols drove in his major league-leading 44th run on Friday, and is 3-for-8 with two homers and 4 RBIs in his career against Vargas.

Jim Edmonds hit his fifth home run in the series opener, snapping a 12-game homerless drought. Edmonds is batting just .245 on the season, but is batting .385 during his current eight-game hitting streak.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good all year but just haven’t been getting hits,” Edmonds said. “I know you guys like to talk about all the stats and trying to jinx me. I’m just trying to contribute and stay in the lineup until I can get above the water.”

The St. Louis center fielder is 4-for-9 with a home run and three RBIs in his career against Vargas.

The Diamondbacks have lost three of their last four games after a seven-game winning streak.

Arizona right fielder Shawn Green went hitless in four at-bats on Friday for the first time since April 22, but is still batting .415 (27-for-65) with two homers and nine RBIs in his last 17 games.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Vargas Col vs. J. Marquis SD
12-10 Record 14-16
4.83 ERA 6.02
123 K 96
52 BB 75
1.41 WHIP 1.52