Winning consecutive games with strong offensive production has the St. Louis Cardinals gaining confidence.
They’ll try to build on that against one of the worst staffs in the majors Friday night when they open a three-game interleague series with Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
St. Louis (33-28) collected 11 hits to beat Florida 6-5 on Thursday after matching its season high with 18 hits in a 13-4 victory a night earlier.
The victories followed a season-high five-game losing streak, during which St. Louis was outscored 37-12 while batting .209.
The Cardinals, who are one-half game behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee, will try to continue their resurgence against the Indians, whose 5.23 staff ERA is ahead of only major league-worst Washington (5.33).
St. Louis is 4-10 against Cleveland, and the clubs haven’t met since the Cardinals lost two of three from June 26-28, 2006.
Joel Pineiro(notes) (5-6, 3.97 ERA) would like to see the offense continue to roll as he tries to avoid a fourth consecutive losing start for the first time since dropping a career-high five in a row with Seattle from Aug. 6-27, 2003.
The right-hander has received only four total runs of support during his current losing streak, in which he’s recorded a 5.63 ERA. That slide is also part of a seven-game stretch that has seen him go 1-6 despite a 4.09 ERA while the offense produced 10 total runs.
Pineiro lost again Sunday, getting reached for three runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 7-2 loss to Colorado.
“You know that, but you can’t be thinking about that,” Pineiro told the team’s official Web site of the limited run support. “Because then you put more pressure on yourself and you kind of not worry about what you have to do on the mound.
“You can’t be thinking about that too much. You’ve still got to go out there and pitch your game.”
Pineiro is 3-2 with a 5.66 ERA in 10 games - eight starts - against Cleveland all when he was in the AL from 2000-07.
The Indians seek their fourth win in five games after beating Kansas City 4-3 on Thursday thanks to a walkoff single from Shin-Soo Choo(notes) that ricocheted off a sea gull in center field in the 10th inning.
“I didn’t see it, but I’ll take it,” Choo said after getting his only hit in 10 at-bats with six strikeouts during the series. “I saw the birds. I’ve seen them for weeks and been worried maybe 200 of them would be flying and one would get hit when I was trying to field a ball. Then what would I do?”
The 24-year-old left-hander allowed three runs and four hits in five innings of an 8-4 triumph over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. He had gone 0-2 with a 9.77 ERA in four starts after being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on May 17.
Huff has only made one home start, allowing four hits over four innings of a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay on May 28 that featured a rain delay of 2 hours and 40 minutes.