stats-recaps1
Major League Baseball
Preview
Pittsburgh at St. Louis
When: 7:15 PM ET, Saturday, June 24, 2017
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

After winding up on the wrong end of three consecutive one-run games in their first visit to St. Louis, the Pittsburgh Pirates turned to an ex-Cardinal in order to end their recent struggles at Busch Stadium. David Freese hopes to haunt his former team yet again Saturday as his Pirates continue their three-game series in St. Louis.

Pittsburgh dropped three straight 2-1 decisions in St. Louis from April 17-19 after entering the series with a .500 record, and it hasn't been able to get back to the break-even mark since. Freese, who has reached base safely in each of his 14 career starts against the Cardinals, gave Pittsburgh the jolt it needed in Friday's 4-3 win with a game-tying RBI single in the eighth before John Jaso delivered a solo home run one inning later to seal it. St. Louis continued its recent homer-happy ways with two more in the opener, but Jose Martinez's two-run shot and Paul DeJong's solo blast weren't enough in the team's first home setback against the Pirates in eight meetings. The Cardinals have homered in a season-high 12 consecutive games and scored 33 of their last 42 runs via the long ball.

TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, FOX

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Gerrit Cole (5-6, 4.28 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (5-4, 3.33)

Cole was masterful in Monday's win at Milwaukee, giving up one run and three hits across seven innings after posting a similar line six days earlier against Colorado. The 26-year-old UCLA product seems to have recovered from a four-start stretch during which he surrendered 23 runs and 39 hits in 19 1/3 frames and found the form that allowed him to post a 2.84 ERA after his first nine turns. Cole lost at St. Louis on April 19 despite permitting two runs in six innings, falling to 5-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 11 career starts against the Cardinals.

Lynn's strong start this month came to a crashing halt Sunday in Baltimore as he surrendered a career-high four homers among the seven runs and nine hits he allowed over 4 2/3 innings. The one-time All-Star, who hasn't lasted more than 5 1/3 frames in any of his last five outings, had opened June by allowing a total of three runs and eight hits while striking out 18 across 15 1/3 innings. Lynn worked seven scoreless frames on April 17 to earn his first victory of the season against the Pirates.

WALK-OFFS

1. Pirates 1B Josh Bell's 14 home runs are the second-most by a Pittsburgh rookie before the All-Star break since Hall-of-Famer Ralph Kiner hit 15 in 1946.

2. Cardinals closer Seung-Hwan Oh has surrendered as many homers (five) in 33 1/3 innings this year as he did in 79 2/3 frames last season.

3. Freese is hitting .333 in 18 overall games versus his former team and .357 in the 14 starts he has made against St. Louis.

PREDICTION: Pirates 4, Cardinals 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Pittsburgh 34-40 W1 19-18 15-22 16-10 11-16 5-8 2-6
St. Louis 33-39 L2 18-19 15-20 12-3 13-20 5-8 3-8
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh St. Louis
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
6/23/17 PIT 4 STL 3 .152 2 .556 .194 2 .711
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh J. Bell .312 5 1.000
St. Louis J. Martinez .417 5 1.128
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh J. Bell 2 3 2
St. Louis D. Fowler 2 3 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 2.45 .195 29
St. Louis 1.50 .198 21
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh J. Harrison .291 78 .818
St. Louis J. Gyorko .291 66 .850
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen 14 41 44
St. Louis D. Fowler 13 40 35
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 4.34 .246 545
St. Louis 4.08 .251 615