The St. Louis Cardinals will likely be happy to close out interleague play Sunday against the visiting Oakland Athletics after splitting the first two games of the series. The Cardinals fell to 1-8 in interleague games at home this season after Oakland scored two runs in the eighth inning Saturday and held on for a 3-2 victory.
The Cardinals maintained their 1 1/2-game lead over Miami for the second wild-card spot in the National League and continue to be encouraged by the play of outfielder Randal Grichuk, who belted his 18th home run on Saturday and is 7-for-17 with three blasts over his last five games. St. Louis rookie Alex Reyes started Saturday in place of Mike Leake, who was scratched due to shingles and is questionable for Friday's scheduled start. Jaime Garcia will take the mound Sunday hoping to slow down Oakland rookie third baseman Ryon Healy, who is 19-for-49 during his 13-game hitting streak. "He's seeing every type of pitcher and he's making the adjustments," manager Bob Melvin told reporters. "He's not scared at all. He's very respectful of his teammates and the game, but he's very tenacious."
TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Andrew Triggs (0-1, 4.38 ERA) vs. Cardinals LH Jaime Garcia (10-9, 4.37)
Triggs allowed three hits over six scoreless innings last Monday against Cleveland, but Oakland still fell to 1-21 with him on the mound this season. "You feel for him because he appreciates the opportunity he gets," Melvin told reporters. "You can't help but pull for a guy who's a great team guy and he performed (in relief). He's performing even better in the rotation right now." The 27-year-old rookie has walked just one batter in four games covering 18 2/3 innings as a starter.
Garcia looks to bounce back from a rough outing last Tuesday, when he allowed six runs on seven hits over four innings in a loss to the New York Mets. The 30-year-old is tied for second on the team with 122 strikeouts but has allowed a total of five home runs over his past two starts. Khris Davis is 1-for-9 with four strikeouts against Garcia, who is making his first appearance against Oakland and owns a 6-4 record and 4.11 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.
1. The Cardinals have homered in 16 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.
2. Oakland is 20-20 in one-run games this season.
3. Following Sunday's game, St. Louis begins a 10-day, nine-game road trip to Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 6, Athletics 4
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