St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: NL Central Rivals Face Off at PNC Park

The St. Louis Cardinals (70-57) and Pittsburgh Pirates (68-59) will open up an important National League Central series on Monday night at PNC Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates 

Pittsburgh Pirates SP A.J. Burnett is 1-1 with a 11.17 ERA in two starts against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012

St. Louis started its 10-game road trip in solid fashion, taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds, including an 8-2 victory on Sunday afternoon.  The Cardinals are now just six games back of the Reds in the division standings.  “We’ve got two big series ahead of us,” stated Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday.  “This was a step in the right direction.”  The defending World Series champions are getting hot at the right time, posting a 23-12 record since July 20.  St. Louis is 12-12 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125.

Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse (13-2, 2.61 ERA) picked up a 4-2 home victory over the Houston Astros in his last start, allowing two runs and three hits over seven frames.  The right-hander is 6-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 13 road outings, surrendering seven home runs in 80.1 innings.  In 16 career games (15 starts) versus the Pirates, Lohse has compiled an 8-2 record and 3.41 ERA, including a 4-1 mark and 3.62 ERA at this ballpark.

Pittsburgh has failed to win consecutive home games since July 21-22, as it was handed a 7-0 shutout loss by the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday afternoon.  “Our games haven’t been complete for a while now,” stated Pirates manager Clint Hurdle about the team’s current status.  The Pirates have been getting plenty of support from the area, with 111,283 fans coming to see the most recent three-game series.  Pittsburgh is 11-7 as a home underdog of +100 to +125 this season.

Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (15-4, 3.63 ERA) has watched the club alternate wins and losses over his last four outings, coming off a no-decision effort in a 7-5 road setback to the San Diego Padres.  The right-hander is 8-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 12 home outings, with opposing hitters batting .233 against him.  In 10 career outings versus the Cardinals, Burnett has registered a 5-4 record and 4.29 ERA, but is 1-1 with a 11.17 ERA in two efforts this year.

Sports bettors will likely play the total in this contest, as the UNDER is 18-8-2 in the Pirates last 28 games as a home underdog.

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