An overdue offensive outburst has the St. Louis Cardinals hoping their recent scoring woes are finally behind them.
Lance Lynn also getting back on track could help St. Louis earn a third straight victory as it hosts the Miami Marlins in the opener of a three-game set Friday night.The Cardinals (46-40) scored just six runs over their previous six contests before ending the funk with 14 hits in Thursday's 7-2 win over San Francisco.Jhonny Peralta matched the combined run total from the last three games with a two-run homer in the first inning and Yadier Molina added three hits for St. Louis, which took two of three in the series."We've had our struggles at the plate," said Peralta, who had two hits after going 1 for 10 over his previous three. "It was good to start it off in the first inning."Peralta's homer provided a boost for an offense that had struggled since scoring 22 runs while taking two of three at Colorado from June 23-25 to begin a 10-game trip."That kind of set the tone and we found a way to pile it on," said Matt Carpenter, who is hitting .433 during an eight-game hitting streak.Now that the offense seems to be clicking again, Lynn (8-6, 3.38 ERA) will look to bounce back after a tough outing.Lynn went 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA over his previous three outings before allowing seven runs -- six earned -- in two innings of Saturday's 9-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, matching the shortest start of his career.The right-hander was dealing with blisters on his pitching hand, but he wouldn't use that as an excuse for his poor performance."Honestly, I have blister problems every time I start," Lynn said. "I'm missing a lot of the top part of my (middle) finger -- the whole tip, pretty much. I think it dried out and it just ripped off. But that's a part of pitching. You try to get through those things, and I wasn't able to do that."Lynn was solid in his last start against the Marlins, giving up two runs and striking out seven in seven innings of a 3-2 victory July 7 that gave the Cardinals a three-game sweep in the most recent series between the two.Miami (41-44) had a chance to enter this set fresh off a three-game sweep of Philadelphia, but second baseman Donovan Solano bobbled a grounder in the ninth Thursday to allow the go-ahead run to score in a 5-4 defeat.Marcell Ozuna went 3 for 4 and is batting .353 during a nine-game hitting streak, and Casey McGehee recorded his 50th RBI while extending his own streak to 10. He's reached base safely in 27 straight contests.The Marlins begin a nine-game trip by handing the ball to Nathan Eovaldi, who will try to get off to a better start than he did in his last outing.Eovaldi (5-3, 3.71) gave up five runs in seven innings of Miami's 7-6, 14-inning loss to Oakland on Saturday, but he allowed just one run and five hits after the first inning. He threw a season-high 113 pitches.The right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA over his last four starts."It will come around, that's just how baseball is," Eovaldi said. "I have to do a better job."Eovaldi gave up three runs and walked three in 6 2/3 innings of the Marlins' 5-4 loss July 6 in his last outing against the Cardinals.
Lance Lynn throws his fastball 78.1 percent of the time, the second-highest rate in the majors. Giancarlo Stanton is hitting .394 against fastballs this year, best in the majors among qualified hitters. The Marlins as a team are hitting .286 with an .800 OPS against fastballs, both of which are the second-highest rate in the NL.