Cincinnati’s surprising right-hander, Edinson Volquez, is hoping he can spoil those plans on Sunday.
Volquez (14-5, 2.86 ERA) takes the mound in the finale of this three-game series having alternated between wins and losses in his last four starts. He’ll be making his first career start against the Cardinals (70-56), who will be trying to win their fifth straight.
St. Louis beat the Reds 9-3 on Saturday as Albert Pujols homered twice and Skip Schumaker also homered while driving in three runs. With the win, St. Louis improved to 6-3 on its 10-game road trip and 6-2 against the Reds, including 4-1 at Cincinnati.
The Cardinals have recorded at least 10 hits in each of their last four wins. They had 13 on Saturday, including four home runs—tying a season high.
“We haven’t had a lot of games where we score 9-10-11 runs,” said Ryan Ludwick, who had a two-run homer. “It’s a good feeling tonight the way it worked out. The offense looks good right now.”
The Cardinals have averaged 5.8 runs during their winning streak and are two games behind Milwaukee in the NL wild card race.
Volquez looks to snap Cincinnati’s losing streak as he tries to win back-to-back starts. After allowing five runs in three consecutive outings July 25-Aug. 5, the right-hander held Pittsburgh to one run and five hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 5-1 win on Tuesday. He had received two extra days of rest, but Volquez told the Reds’ official Web site that he thought it hindered instead of benefited him.
“Any time I take too many days off, I feel like I lose my power a little bit,” said Volquez, who had won just three games with Texas from 2005-07 before joining the Reds via trade.
The Reds, who are 16-9 when Volquez starts, have lost 12 of their last 15. They were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position Saturday.
Like Volquez, Kyle Lohse (13-5, 3.92) is having a surprisingly successful season, but he has struggled recently and is looking to avoid losing his third straight start. The Cardinals leader in wins is 1-3 with a 6.37 ERA in his last five starts. He allowed four runs and six hits over 4 1-3 innings Tuesday, not returning after a rain delay of nearly two hours, against the Marlins in a 4-3 loss.
“Kyle did a good job,” Ludwick said. “He made one mistake and it cost three runs. If it wasn’t for the rain delay, I think he would have been lights out for quite a while.”
This is Lohse’s first start against the Reds since 2001, when he did not get a decision while pitching for the Minnesota Twins. Lohse is trying to match a career high for wins established in 2003 with Minnesota.