Closing The Gap

Jamie Moyer has not lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in more than 20 years. The Philadelphia Phillies would like nothing more than to extend that streak just one day further.

Moyer and the hard-charging Phillies try to complete a three-game sweep of the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Wednesday while trying to gain more ground in the playoff chase.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made St. Louis -115 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on Philadelphia +110 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The 44-year-old left-handed Moyer (13-11, 5.12 ERA) already has defeated the Cardinals this season, scattering seven hits and two walks in six innings of a 6-0 victory June 22. Moyer is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in nine starts and 10 lifetime appearances versus them, winning his last three decisions over a seven-start span since losing to them June 12, 1987.

Moyer, though, has not won since July 21 on the road, where he is winless in his last four starts and 6-8 with a 5.47 ERA in 17 outings overall.

Philadelphia (82-69) closed within 1 1/2 games of the New York Mets with a 7-4, 14-inning victory Tuesday. Rod Barajas singled home Chase Utley with the go-ahead run, and Jayson Werth added a two-run triple as the Phillies matched a season high with a sixth straight win, and ninth victory in their last 11.

"At this point of the season, every game is magnified,'' Barajas said. "To be able to come through and help this team in such a crucial situation, it felt wonderful.''

While quickly closing the gap on the Mets in the East - making up 5 1/2 games since the start of play Thursday - the Phillies also have kept pressure on the San Diego Padres, who have maintained a 1 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia in the wild card standings by winning five consecutive games themselves.

"It's huge because you never want to play 5 hours and come up on the losing end, use up a whole bullpen and use up pretty much everybody on the bench,'' said Phillies reliever Clay Condrey, who got the save. "To come away with a win, I hope it lifts us up even higher.''

Utley, who has a 13-game overall hitting streak, has hit safely in 19 consecutive games against the Cardinals, going 36-for-91 (.389) with 17 RBIs in that span.

The Cardinals (70-80) have lost three straight games and 11 of their last 12 to all but fall out of the NL Central race. They are now eight games behind the co-leading Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs with 11 games left, needing a spectacular collapse by both teams to have any chance to defend their World Series title.

"It was just a really tough game,'' manager Tony La Russa said. "It wears you out when you get beat. They've got a lot of adrenaline and we don't.''

Adam Wainwright (13-11, 3.71),  whose loss Sept. 7 marked the start of St. Louis' late-season swoon, will try to avoid dropping a third consecutive start. The right-hander, though, deserves little blame in either loss after allowing a combined five runs in 13 innings.

Wainwright took the loss to the Cubs on Friday despite conceding just two runs and five hits over seven innings of a 5-3 defeat. The go-ahead run, though, came on a seventh-inning homer by Cliff Floyd.

"I have people tell me I threw the ball great, but the fact is in a tie game you can't give up a home run in the seventh inning like that to a dangerous hitter,'' Wainwright said. "That was a bad job of pitching by my part.''

The Cardinals have scored just three runs in Wainwright's last two losses, and he is 3-3 in his last eight starts despite a 2.14 ERA and holding every opponent to three runs or fewer in that span. Wainwright has dominated the Phillies this season, yielding just two runs in 13 innings while winning both his starts.

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, a late scratch on Tuesday with a strained calf muscle, appeared as a pinch-hitter in the 13th inning.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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