The St. Louis Cardinals may be glad to hit the road.
After a frustrating homestand, the defending World Series champions open a two-game set against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on Wednesday night to start a five-game road swing.
St. Louis lost 6-1 to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, its third loss in a four-game set at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals, who were swept in their two-game set with the Pirates, are 1-6 at Busch this season after having the second-best home record in the NL last year—49-31—en route to their first title since 1982.
St. Louis scored 10 runs in a victory over Milwaukee on Sunday, but managed just five runs in the other three losses on its homestand. The Cardinals’ 6-7 overall start is the worst by a World Series winner since the 1998 Florida Marlins opened 1-11.
“I’m glad we’re going away then, so we can play better,” said Albert Pujols, who was 0-for-7 with two walks in the series against Pittsburgh and is batting .160 (8-for-50) this season. “I’ve seen what this team can do.”
The Cardinals have fared much better on the road, where they have won four in a row and are 5-1. After visiting San Francisco they will play three games in Chicago against the Cubs.
St. Louis went 4-1 against the Giants, including a 2-1 record in San Francisco.
The Giants (4-8) failed to post their first three-game winning streak of the season after falling 5-3 to Colorado on Tuesday. Matt Cain allowed just two singles in seven scoreless innings, but San Francisco gave up five runs in the eighth and finished with a split of their two-game set with the Rockies.
“We had the game until the eighth,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We couldn’t make the plays. The ball had eyes in that inning and we couldn’t get to it. This one was tough.”
Ray Durham went 0-for-4, ending a season-opening 11-game hitting streak.
Starter Matt Morris (2-0, 2.38 ERA) will look to help the Giants bounce back in the series opener. Morris, who is pitching for the first time since April 10 because of weekend rainouts in Pittsburgh, gave up two runs in 5 1-3 innings in his last outing, a 6-5 win at San Diego on April 10.
Morris started in San Francisco’s first two wins of the season, both against the Padres. The right-hander spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Cardinals, going 111-62 before signing with the Giants as a free agent in December 2005.
He lost both of his starts against his former team last year, posting a 6.75 ERA in those outings.
St. Louis will go with Randy Keisler (0-0, 3.00), who is making his second start in place of the injured Chris Carpenter (right elbow). Keisler gave up two runs in six innings of the Cardinals’ 3-2 win in 12 innings at Pittsburgh on April 10 in his first appearance since June and first start since September 2005.
“He’s got to feel that urgency every time he goes out there, he has to earn the right to go out there again,” manager Tony La Russa said of Keisler, who was with Oakland last year.
Keisler has made two career relief appearances against the Giants, allowing three runs in two innings.