An offensive outburst in their last game could be what the St. Louis Cardinals need to provide some momentum in time to begin a series with their biggest rival.
The Cardinals look to build on their latest victory when they face the Chicago Cubs on Friday at Wrigley Field.
This is the latest the NL Central rivals will met for the first time since 1999 when they also opened their season series May 28.
While Chicago (23-25) tries for a third straight winning series, St. Louis hopes its latest effort will revive an offense that has hit 14 home runs while going 12-13 in May.
After being held to a run in consecutive losses at San Diego, St. Louis (27-21) broke out for an 8-3 victory over the Padres on Thursday.
Pujols, who was homerless with no RBIs since May 14 at Cincinnati, finished with three RBIs but is 4 for 22 over his last six games.
“It’s always good when Albert’s hitting,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “But there’s no doubt that he’s going to hit.”
The two-time reigning NL MVP is hitting .216 with one homer, but has eight RBIs, in his last 11 games at Wrigley Field.
St. Louis was 10-6 against Chicago in 2009, but 3-4 at Wrigley where it hasn’t won a series since April 20-22, 2007.
The right-hander is 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 17 starts versus Chicago, including 2-0 with a 1.42 over three starts in 2009.
Carpenter allowed five runs and two homers in six innings of a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. He’s yielded nine home runs, two more than he gave up all last year.
“Interesting enough, it really was the best I’ve felt all year,” Carpenter told the Cardinals’ official website, “was happy with the way I felt.”
The Cubs rode a strong performance from Ted Lilly(notes) en route to a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday for their eighth win in 11 games. Tyler Colvin’s(notes) eighth-inning double helped Chicago take two of three in the series.
“It’s a question now of consistency,” manager Lou Piniella told the Cubs’ official website. “It’s a question of winning with a little more regularity. Until that happens, there’s no sense worrying about the Cardinals or anybody else.”
Wells is 0-2 with a 4.68 ERA in his last four starts, but has given up four runs in 15 innings over his last two. The right-hander allowed three runs in 8 1-3 innings of a 5-4, 10-inning win at Texas on Saturday.
“I’m starting to figure this thing out, I’m starting to pitch deeper in ballgames and give myself a chance to win,” Wells said.
A native of Belleville, Ill., in the St. Louis area, Wells allowed four runs in seven innings of a 4-2 loss in his only start against Cardinals on July 12.