Cardinals-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

The St. Louis Cardinals could use another productive stretch at the plate to help them climb into position for a playoff berth.

After breaking out of a slump, the Cardinals will try to keep their momentum going in Sunday's series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies.

St. Louis (62-52) helped its chances of returning to the postseason by batting .306 and outscoring opponents 105-53 while winning 13 of 17. The Cardinals, though, couldn't keep that run going after Monday's 8-2 victory over San Francisco and batted .180 with a combined six runs scored while dropping three of their next four games.

They kept those struggles brief, however, registering 10 hits in a 4-1 win over the Phillies on Saturday. Matt Holliday led the way with a three-run homer and Carlos Beltran finished off the scoring with an eighth-inning single, giving him 17 RBIs in 22 games.

"(Holliday and Beltran) have been carrying the load," said manager Mike Matheny, whose team is 2-4 against Philadelphia heading into the season's final matchup.

The victory moved the Cardinals within 1 1/2 games of the NL wild-card leaders, and they'll try to get closer with help from Lance Lynn (13-5, 3.52 ERA).

The right-hander is attempting to rebound from his first loss since June 30. He gave up three runs in the first inning Tuesday en route to a 4-2 defeat to San Francisco, also his first in six starts.

Lynn has allowed 18 first-inning runs and 53 overall.

"I'm just not getting the guy out when I need to right now,'' Lynn said. "I've just got to keep working and trying to get better. They're starting to learn what I do. I've just got to keep trying to keep getting better and keep improving."

In his first start against the Phillies (51-62), Lynn will pitch opposite Vance Worley (6-7, 3.83), who is coming off his shortest outing of the season.

While dealing with a stomach ailment, Worley gave up four runs, six hits and three walks over 3 2-3 innings during a 6-1 loss to Atlanta on Monday.

"It seemed like every time I went out there and I tried to let loose today, it didn't go where I wanted it. Neither did my stomach. I went out there with heart today," he told the team's website.

The right-hander did not get a decision in his only start against St. Louis on Sept. 16 despite giving up only one run over six innings.

Beltran is the only current Cardinals player with more than one hit against Worley, going 2 for 9 with one double and three walks versus the right-hander.

Nate Schierholtz is the only Phillies hitter to have faced Lynn and has gone 0 for 2.

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