Arizona (47-39) at St. Louis (38-43)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Thu Jul 5, 2007
  • TV: FSAZ, FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It’s no surprise that Albert Pujols’ recent success at the plate has coincided with the recent success of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pujols looks to continue his offensive surge as the Cardinals go for their fifth win in seven games in the finale of a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

Pujols singled and scored the tying run in the eighth inning on Wednesday, helping St. Louis (38-43) overcome a three-run seventh-inning deficit to take a 5-4 win.

Pujols is batting .550 (11-for-20) with five walks and no strikeouts on his six-game hitting streak, and the Cardinals are 4-2 in that stretch.

Wednesday’s victory helped St. Louis gain ground on Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs—the two teams ahead of the reigning World Series champions—in the NL Central standings, each of whom lost earlier in the day.

“It’s a huge win,” outfielder Chris Duncan told the Cardinals’ official Web site. “Where we’re at, we have to grab every game we can. So any time you can come back and win a game like that, it feels pretty good.”

The Cardinals improved to 32-24 in games in which Pujols hits safely. They are just 6-19 when their All-Star first baseman goes hitless.

That doesn’t bode well for the Diamondbacks, against whom Pujols is batting .371 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 17 games since the beginning of the 2005 season.

Arizona (47-39) had won 10 of 14 road games May 19-June 17, but fell to 2-4 on its current trip with Wednesday’s loss. The Diamondbacks have held a lead in three of those four defeats.

“We just didn’t execute,” manager Bob Melvin told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site Wednesday. “We were in a position to win the game. We had the lead late. We had a couple more opportunities to execute, and we just didn’t execute.”

The Diamondbacks have been outscored 37-19 on the trip, while batting .236 and posting a 5.47 ERA.

They look to salvage a split in the series with left-hander Doug Davis (5-9, 4.29 ERA). Davis gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings in a loss at San Francisco on Saturday. He walked a season-high six batters in Arizona’s 4-1 defeat.

Davis hopes to bounce back in St. Louis, where he was 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts while pitching for Milwaukee last season. He is 4-4 with a 4.92 ERA in 11 career games—10 starts—against the Cardinals.

Pujols is 8-for-23 (.348) with two homers and seven walks in his career against Davis.

The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright (6-7, 4.81), who lost his last start on Saturday after allowing five runs in five innings in the Cardinals’ 5-1 defeat at Cincinnati.

Wainwright is 4-3 with a 3.53 ERA in his last seven home starts, but he has lost three of his last four at Busch Stadium.

The right-hander has a 7.71 ERA in three career relief appearances against the Diamondbacks.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Davis CWS vs. A. Wainwright StL
13-12 Record 14-12
4.25 ERA 3.70
144 K 136
95 BB 70
1.59 WHIP 1.40

Scoreboard

Thursday, Jul 5