September 25, 2014

The St. Louis Cardinals' bats have supplied them an edge over one of the other top lineups in the NL.

The way things have gone so far for the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, there is a good chance the Cardinals will continue their power surge in this series when they try to take the four-game set Thursday night.

St. Louis (12-9) has won four of five behind an outburst of 45 runs and 66 hits, lifting its MLB-best scoring average to 6.52. Sealing a series victory in Arizona would give the Cardinals their 16th win in the last 18 meetings, including a 9-2 mark at Chase Field.

The same sluggers who have helped St. Louis to 33 home runs - tied with Colorado behind only Arizona's 34 - have done much of the damage in the first three games.

Aledmys Diaz, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Matt Carpenter, Brandon Moss and Stephen Piscotty have each gone deep, moving their combined season total to 20. They have totaled 18 RBIs against the Diamondbacks (11-12) with Moss and Piscotty logging four-hit games.

Even pitcher Adam Wainwright came through with a bases-clearing triple in Wednesday's 11-4 rout, and Diaz extended the Cardinals' streak to seven straight games with a home run.

''I felt like when I went up to the plate, that was the game,'' Wainwright said of his three-bagger that was part of a five-run sixth inning. ''If I was able to put something across positive there, it was going to help us win that game.''

The Cardinals will go for their sixth straight game with at least seven runs and 11 hits while trying to close a road trip 5-2.

Michael Wacha (2-0, 2.82 ERA) gets the ball seeking his fourth straight quality start. The right-hander's rough opener in which he was rocked for 10 hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings at Pittsburgh is a distant memory. He has tossed six innings in each of his last three starts, allowing three earned runs and 15 hits.

He didn't receive a decision in his last two starts against Arizona - both in 2014 - despite posting a 1.64 ERA.

The Diamondbacks went deep off Adam Wainwright twice, but Wacha has yet to surrender a homer.

Arizona holds the worst home record in the majors since the start of the 2014 season at 76-99. Even with heightened expectations from adding Zack Greinke and former Cardinal Shelby Miller to the top of their rotation, the Diamondbacks have stumbled to a 4-9 start there.

Scoring hasn't been the issue as they have averaged 5.77 runs at home. Arizona has totaled 28 the last four games but has coughed up 38 to drop three of them. The Diamondbacks have a 6.77 ERA on their home field, better than only Colorado's 7.22.

Rubby De La Rosa (2-3, 5.94) will try to snap a stretch of four straight Arizona starters that have surrendered at least five runs. He was the last to give up fewer, holding Pittsburgh to one run and three hits in six innings of Saturday's 7-1 win.

De La Rosa has been asked to spare a taxed bullpen with three relief appearances, making it difficult for him to settle into a starter's role. He threw only 91 pitches against the Pirates.

"His pitch count definitely wasn't anywhere near where he had to come out of the game," manager Chip Hale said. "I think it was kind of a good bridge to get him to over 100 next time."

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