Cardinals-Blue Jays Preview
Having subdued the high-scoring Toronto Blue Jays to avoid falling below .500, the St. Louis Cardinals are in position to win their first series in two weeks.
That probably won't be an easy task against Toronto, which has lost back-to-back games only once in its last 25 contests.
After dealing the Blue Jays a rare shutout, the Cardinals seek their fourth win in 12 games in Sunday's series finale at Rogers Centre.
Shelby Miller was spectacular for St. Louis (32-31) on Saturday, keeping the Jays hitless until the sixth inning before earning a three-hit shutout and a 5-0 victory that snapped Toronto's six-game winning streak.
The starting rotation had posted a 6.04 ERA while the Cardinals dropped eight of 10, leaving them on the verge of falling below .500 for the first time since May 12. Instead, Miller's effort gives them a chance to win a series for the first time since taking two of three at Cincinnati from May 23-25.
"Hopefully, we get the ball rolling," said Miller, who handed the Blue Jays (38-25) their first shutout since April 17 in Minnesota.
The AL East-leading Jays had averaged 5.3 runs and hit .282 with 39 homers during a 20-4 stretch that lifted them among the major league leaders in most offensive categories.
Toronto will try to get back in the win column against Jaime Garcia (1-0, 5.47 ERA), who is coming off his worst outing since returning from last year's shoulder surgery.
Garcia surrendered season highs of six runs - all in the fifth - and eight hits over five innings Monday, but did not get a decision in an 8-7 home loss to Kansas City.
The left-hander hasn't issued a walk over 24 2-3 innings, though he has allowed five home runs. That doesn't bode well against Toronto, which leads the majors with 89 homers.
Garcia has gone 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays. Jose Bautista is 2 for 5 with a home run and two RBIs in the matchup, but his 12-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-4 performance Saturday.
Melky Cabrera had two of Toronto's season low-tying three hits, leaving him 7 for 19 with two homers in his last four games. Jose Reyes, 3 for 10 when facing Garcia, added a single to extend his hitting streak to eight.
Toronto's Drew Hutchison (4-3, 3.50) has gone 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his last four outings after going 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA over his previous three. He allowed three hits with seven strikeouts over seven innings Monday before Toronto scored five in the ninth for a 5-3 win at Detroit.
"He looks like a veteran out there," infielder Brett Lawrie said. "He's throwing the ball very well for us. He's keeping us in ballgames."
Although he's 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA in eight road starts, Hutchison is 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA in four outings at Rogers Centre.
The right-hander has never faced the Cardinals, who scored at least five runs for only the third time in nine games Saturday. St. Louis is hitting just .205 while averaging 2.9 runs over that span.
Matt Holliday is among those struggling, going 4 for 27 in his last nine games.