Miller, Cards seek to avoid getting swept by Pirates

( - Shelby Miller will attempt to win a fourth straight start on Sunday night and prevent the St. Louis Cardinals from getting swept in their three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Miller has won each of his past four decisions since opening the season with consecutive losses and is coming off a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday. The righty was charged with a pair of runs on six hits and two walks over five innings.

Miller is 4-2 with a 3.20 earned run average on the season and has beaten the Pirates only once before in his brief career.

The 23-year-old struggled in a loss at Pittsburgh on April 4, giving up five runs over 5 1/3 innings. Pedro Alvarez hit a pair of solo homers off Miller, who gave up three longballs in total.

Miller, though, rebounded to beat the Pirates at home on April 25, logging 5 2/3 scoreless frames to move to 1-5 against them with a 4.91 ERA.

While Miller is hoping to extend a personal win streak, Pirates starter Charlie Morton aims to pick up his first victory in 13 starts.

Morton has not won since Sept. 2 and is 0-4 through seven starts this season despite a solid 3.45 ERA.

The Pirates have won all three of the right-hander's no-decisions this season, including a 2-1 triumph on Tuesday over the San Francisco Giants. The 30-year- old Morton allowed just one unearned run over eight innings, working around three hits and two walks.

"I always want to go deep into games," said Morton. "I always want to max out any pitch count that I might have. I always want to get as many innings as I can."

Morton has not faced the Cardinals yet this season and is 2-9 against them lifetime with a 6.52 ERA.

The Pirates secured the series victory with last night's 4-3 win as Alvarez capped a four-run fourth inning with an RBI single.

Pittsburgh starter Edinson Volquez and Jose Tabata each added a run-scoring groundout in the rally, while Josh Harrison supplied an RBI single and scored on Alvarez's go-ahead base hit for the deciding margin.

Volquez allowed three runs on four hits and four walks over 4 2/3 frames before giving way to Jared Hughes, who picked up the win after spinning 1 1/3 perfect innings in relief.

Mark Melancon stranded runners on first and second in the ninth to secure his fourth save of the season and send Pittsburgh to its fourth win in a row.

"What a fun game to be a part of," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "For everybody. Everybody threw in something, everybody did their job."

Mark Ellis drove in a run and scored once for the Cardinals, who have lost two straight and three of their last four games.

St. Louis starter Lance Lynn allowed all four runs on nine hits and two walks over six innings to absorb the loss.

"I think there was only one ball hit in the outfield on a line," said Lynn. "It's tough when you give up four runs with only one ball leaving the infield in the air. It's just baseball."

The Pirates have won five of the eight meetings this season, also taking two of three at home from April 4-6.


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