Cardinals-Pirates Preview

The Associated Press

Shelby Miller has struggled at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. The same could be said for many of his St. Louis Cardinals teammates.

Miller will look to reverse that trend and help the Cardinals avoid a sweep against the Pirates in the first televised Sunday night game from Pittsburgh since 1996.

After pitching well in a tough-luck loss last season in his first appearance at Pittsburgh, Miller (4-2, 3.20 ERA) has compiled a 9.31 ERA in his last two starts there. He allowed five runs - including a career-high three homers - over 5 1-3 innings in a 12-2 loss at PNC on April 4 in his season debut.

"It's not the park," Miller told the team's official website following that performance. "It's not the team. I just pitched poorly. I don't do anything differently to these guys than I do to anybody else."

The right-hander has been far better since that outing, going 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA in six starts. He's won three consecutive starts, a run that began with a 1-0 home win over the Pirates on April 25 during which he tossed three-hit ball over 5 2-3 innings.

He'll be tasked with helping St. Louis (18-19) avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season. Pittsburgh did all its scoring in the fourth inning Saturday and held on for its season-high fourth straight victory, 4-3.

"That's a tough inning," Cardinals starter Lance Lynn said. "I guess that's just baseball. They put together some good at-bats on me that inning and found holes. I made some pitches. They found holes."

The win improved the Pirates (16-20) to 6-2 on a nine-game homestand and was their 11th win in 14 home games against the Cardinals.

They'll try to record their first sweep of the season in the first-ever Sunday night game at 13-year-old PNC Park. Pittsburgh last hosted ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" on July 28, 1996, when it defeated Philadelphia 12-8 at Three Rivers Stadium.

Charlie Morton (0-4, 3.45) tries again for his first win since Sept. 2. The right-hander certainly pitched well enough to win Tuesday against San Francisco, allowing one unearned run and three hits over eight innings in a 2-1 victory.

Morton hasn't played much of a role in his team's success against the Cardinals, going 2-9 with a 6.52 ERA lifetime against them and losing his last six decisions.

Several Cardinals should be looking forward to this matchup, including Jon Jay (8 for 16), Allen Craig (9 for 18), Yadier Molina (8 for 19) and Matt Holliday (8 for 25).

The Pirates may be a bit shorthanded in this game. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen was out of Saturday's lineup for the first time all season because of soreness in his left foot, while left fielder Starling Marte left the game in the fourth inning with stiffness in his lower back and is day to day.

McCutchen, 8 for 19 in his last four games, expects to play, however.

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