St. Louis (62-49) at Cincinnati (64-49)

  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Tue Aug 10, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The St. Louis Cardinals set up their rotation to have their three best starters go in this three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds in a matchup of the top teams in the NL Central.

The plan has worked through one game.

The Cardinals will send Jaime Garcia(notes) to the mound Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park and can move into a virtual tie atop the division with a victory over the Reds, who counter with ace Johnny Cueto(notes).

St. Louis (62-49) used Skip Schumaker’s(notes) first career grand slam as part of a seven-run fourth inning Monday, and that cushion was more than enough for its ace. Chris Carpenter(notes) cruised through seven innings in a 7-3 victory that pulled the Cardinals within one game of the Reds (64-49).

“That’s the first time it’s happened in my career,” said Schumaker about his grand slam. “Everyone gets lucky once in a while. I probably hit it in the right park.”

Carpenter has won his last nine starts against the Reds, a streak that started in 2006.

A victory Tuesday would pull St. Louis even in terms of games, and give the Cardinals a better winning percentage than the Reds.

“It’s a good start,” Schumaker said.

The rotation has been juggled with Garcia (9-5, 2.53 ERA) following Carpenter, and 16-game winner Adam Wainwright(notes) pitching Wednesday afternoon. The Cardinals are 46-24 in games started by Carpenter, Garcia and Wainwright for the best mark by any three qualifying pitchers on one team in the majors.

Garcia beat the Reds twice in May, posting a 2.92 ERA with left-handed hitters Joey Votto(notes) and Jay Bruce(notes) combining for eight hitless at-bats against him.

The rookie left-hander enters after an ugly outing last Tuesday against Houston. He allowed a career-high eight runs - four earned - over five-plus innings in an 18-4 loss.

Garcia is 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 11 road starts this year.

The Reds will try to bounce back behind their best in Cueto (11-2, 3.24), who is 5-0 with a 1.55 ERA in his last eight outings. Cueto is 6-0 with a 2.47 ERA in 10 starts against division opponents this year, including 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in three versus St. Louis.

The right-hander went 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA over five starts against the Cardinals before allowing a season-high eight runs over five-plus innings and not receiving a decision in a 9-8 victory June 1.

Albert Pujols(notes), who is 19 for 40 with five homers and 12 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak, is 3 for 14 with no homers in his career against Cueto.

Cueto is 5-0 with a 3.58 ERA in his last eight home starts. He matched a career high with his 11th victory Wednesday, yielding one run in six innings of a 9-4 win at Pittsburgh.

Pujols had two hits Monday, and is 18 for 46 with 13 RBIs against Cincinnati this year. Matt Holliday(notes) is 13 for 40 with 10 RBIs in the season series, with St. Louis holding an 8-5 edge.

The Reds lost for the third time in 12 games. Votto, Scott Rolen(notes) and Jim Edmonds(notes) - acquired Monday in a trade with Milwaukee - combined to go 1 for 10.

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Starting Pitchers

J. GarcĂ­a STL vs. J. Cueto SF
13-8 Record 12-7
2.70 ERA 3.64
132 K 138
64 BB 56
1.32 WHIP 1.28


Tuesday, Aug 10