The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to conclude an impressive offensive month in strong fashion.
That may be a tough task against Lance Lynn.
Pittsburgh will try to build on its best offensive display of the season Saturday against Lynn and the host St. Louis Cardinals.
The Pirates (41-35) have 38 homers in June to lead the NL, and 139 runs to lead the majors. They've managed at least one homer in seven straight games, including nine with a .339 average and 30 runs during a three-game winning streak - their longest on the road this season.
Four of their season-high 19 hits left the park Friday to power a 14-5 win at St. Louis (40-37) to open this three-game series. It was the Pirates' biggest output since scoring 14 on Aug. 31, 2010, in a win over the Chicago Cubs.
"We have the capability to do it," manager Clint Hurdle said. "The guys connected the dots.
"I do like the way our offense has thrown some punches back this month."
The Pirates could face a stiff test versus Lynn (10-3, 3.23 ERA), who has won both of his starts against them this year, yielding three runs in 13 2-3 innings.
The right-hander, however, has struggled in his last two starts overall, going 0-1 while surrendering 11 runs and 18 hits in 10 1-3 innings. Those came on the road, and he's won four of five home starts with a 2.59 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 31 1-3 innings.
"To me, mechanically he looks the same," manager Mike Matheny told the Cardinals' official website. "He's just making a few mistakes. There certainly isn't reason to start panicking. It's way too early. The guy is right there, to me, an All-Star. He just had a couple games here where he wasn't as consistent."
Lynn's most recent performance may have been his worst as a starter. He gave up career highs of six runs and three homers in 5 1-3 innings at Kansas City, although St. Louis still won 11-8.
"They're just hitting my mistakes, whereas before I was getting away with them," Lynn said. "I have to stop making so many mistakes."
Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen will be ready to capitalize on any more after collecting four hits with a homer and three RBIs Friday, giving him a .400 average in 16 career games at St. Louis.
The center fielder is hitting .365 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 26 games this month, going 8 for 19 with three doubles, two homers and five RBIs in the past four.
"They're following McCutchen," Friday's losing pitcher Adam Wainwright said of the Pirates. "He's probably going to carry them, he's a great player."
Jeff Karstens (0-2, 6.35) is scheduled to get his second start for Pittsburgh since being sidelined for more than two months with right shoulder inflammation.
The right-hander struggled in his return Monday, getting tagged for seven runs and 11 hits in five innings of an 8-3 loss at Philadelphia.
"The sooner we get him back in play, the better opportunity he's going to have to get to the point where he's the Jeff we saw ... (last) season," Hurdle told the team's official website. "So I think there were some positives to pull out of (Monday), although the numbers aren't what you were looking for."
Karstens went 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in four games - three starts - against the Cardinals last year.
St. Louis' Allen Craig, who doubled and homered Friday and is 7 for 21 with nine RBIs in his last six games, has gone 2 for 3 against Karstens.
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Lance Lynn