Adam Wainwright(notes) has benefited from one of the highest run-support averages in the majors. After the St. Louis Cardinals struggled offensively in their last series, they hope a return to interleague play can help get their bats going once again for the right-hander.
Wainwright and the NL Central-leading Cardinals open a three-game series against the visiting Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
St. Louis (40-34) took a break from interleague play this week, losing three of four on the road to the New York Mets. The Cardinals scored nine total runs in the series and left 12 on base in a 3-2 loss Thursday.
“There were a couple opportunities we could have done a little bit more, with the walks and everything, but (Johan Santana’s)(notes) a good pitcher and he got himself out of those situations,” second baseman Joe Thurston(notes) told the Cardinals’ official Web site.
St. Louis hit .203 in the series and was 6 for 27 with runners in scoring position. Albert Pujols(notes) went 3 for 13 (.231) with no home runs and two RBIs over the four games after going 6 for 12 with three homers and 10 RBIs in a three-game set at Kansas City last weekend.
St. Louis scored 29 runs and hit .327 in that series with the Royals. One of the pitchers that benefited from that offensive outburst was Wainwright (8-4, 3.58 ERA), who gave up five runs and eight hits - two home runs - over six innings of a 12-5 win Sunday.
The Cardinals have scored 36 runs in Wainwright’s last three starts - all wins - and they average an NL-best 7.53 when he’s on the mound.
Wainwright has never faced the Twins (37-37), but he’s won both interleague starts this year, allowing six runs over 13 innings.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will look to continue its success against the NL Central. The Twins have won 10 of 15 in interleague play, including two of three this week at Milwaukee.
“I was just pumped up to finally get back on the field,” said Span, who had been on the DL with an inner ear infection. “My teammates were riding me for the last 2 1/2 weeks for being dizzy.”
The left-hander has lost two of his last three starts. He gave up four runs and nine hits over seven innings of a 4-1 loss to Houston on Sunday after recording his first win in nearly two months in his previous outing.
Perkins, who has never faced the Cardinals, is 3-1 with a 4.22 ERA in five interleague starts.
The Twins were swept in St. Louis in 2001 in the teams’ last meeting. They are 2-7 all-time in interleague play on the road against the Cardinals.