Major League Baseball
Pittsburgh at St. Louis
When: 8:05 PM ET, Sunday, June 25, 2017
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

The St. Louis Cardinals were the very definition of a .500 team over the first two months of the season - a mark they won't be able to reach in June even if they turn things around and win out. The Cardinals hope to avoid a sweep at the hands of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, when the National League Central rivals wrap up their three-game series.

St. Louis swept a home series against Pittsburgh while posting a 12-12 record in April and followed that up by going 13-13 in May despite winning nine of its first 12 that month. The Cardinals' pitching has fallen on hard times lately, however, and the team fell to 8-15 in June following Saturday's 7-3 setback - the 10th time this month it has surrendered at least six runs. While the Cardinals lost for the eighth time in 11 contests to clinch their first sub-.500 month since June 2016, the Pirates have won nine of 14 and guaranteed themselves a series win at a venue where they had dropped seven straight prior to Friday's triumph. Saturday's result marked the first time in five meetings this season the outcome was decided by more than one run.

TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Chad Kuhl (2-6, 5.46 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Mike Leake (5-6, 3.03)

Despite requiring a season-high 98 pitches to get through five innings, Kuhl ended a 12-start winless streak Tuesday at Milwaukee after yielding two runs and seven hits while striking out six. The 24-year-old native of Delaware hasn't worked past the fifth inning in any of his last 11 outings, although he has fared much better on the road (1-2, 3.45 ERA) than at home (1-4, 7.36). Kuhl took the loss in one of his best starts of the season on April 18 at St. Louis, giving up two runs and three hits over six frames.

Leake turned in his finest effort in nearly a month Tuesday at Philadelphia but did not stay around long enough to get a decision despite allowing one run and three hits over six innings of an 8-1 victory. The outing halted a four-start losing streak for the Arizona State product, who was 5-2 with a 1.91 ERA through nine starts before posting a 6.20 ERA over his next four turns prior to Tuesday. Leake has fared well in 29 career starts against the Pirates, going 10-5 with a 3.29 ERA.


1. Pirates 2B Josh Harrison, who has been hit by a pitch in five of his last six games and a major league-leading 16 times overall this year, has reached base safely in 20 consecutive road contests.

2. The Cardinals' 33-40 start is their worst since 2007.

3. St. Louis has homered in a season-high 13 consecutive games, while Pittsburgh has gone deep at least once in a season-best nine straight.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Pirates 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Pittsburgh 35-40 W2 19-18 16-22 16-10 12-16 5-8 2-6
St. Louis 33-40 L3 18-20 15-20 12-3 13-21 5-8 3-8
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh St. Louis
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
6/24/17 PIT 7 STL 3 .182 2 .702 .242 1 .688
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh J. Bell .300 6 .900
St. Louis J. Martinez .400 6 1.071
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh J. Bell 2 3 3
St. Louis D. Fowler 2 3 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 2.57 .193 36
St. Louis 2.60 .208 27
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh J. Harrison .294 80 .837
St. Louis J. Gyorko .291 67 .850
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen 14 43 44
St. Louis M. Carpenter 14 39 40
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 4.32 .245 552
St. Louis 4.12 .251 621