The St. Louis Cardinals are not fully recovered from their difficult start, but they are inching closer to respectability.
By the time they return home after an extensive road schedule, the Cardinals hope they will be over .500.
St. Louis plays 13 of its next 15 games on the road and hopes tocontinue its climb toward .500 Monday night when it visits the Cincinnati Reds for the opener of a four-game series.
Since falling to 10-24 following a 6-5, 10-inning home loss to the Detroit Tigers on May 6, the Cardinals are 11-3 in their past 14 games, a stretch where they have scored at least five runs in eight games. St. Louis also has reached double-digits four times in that span, including three times on a 5-2 homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
On Sunday, the Cardinals completed a four-game series by knocking out Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw after 3 2/3 innings in a 10-5 victory. The win capped a series where the Cardinals totaled 32 runs and batted .452 (14-for-31) with runners in scoring position.
Oscar Mercado, who joined the team last week, had three hits and tied a career high with five RBIs while hitting ninth. Nolan Arenado had three hits and is hitting .408 (20-for-49) during a 12-game hitting streak that has seen his average climb 44 points to .278.
Paul DeJong also homered and drove in four runs while Tommy Edman contributed three hits.
"Right now, these guys are trusting one another, they're playing with a heck of a lot of confidence and it's showing," St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. "All the pieces are coming together."
Cincinnati heads into the series on a four-game losing streak and coming off a three-game sweep to the visiting New York Yankees. The Reds are 1-6 in their past seven games and struck out 33 times while scoring seven runs against the Yankees.
Spencer Steer hit an RBI double in the first inning, but the Reds did not get another runner to third base until loading the bases in the ninth in a game when Hunter Greene allowed two homers and completed seven innings for the first time.
Jordan Montgomery (2-6, 4.21 ERA), who has lost his past six decisions, takes the mound for the Cardinals Monday. Since winning his first two starts, Montgomery is 0-6 with a 4.36 ERA over his past seven starts.
The Cardinals have scored three runs or fewer in four of Montgomery's starts during his skid, including Tuesday when he allowed three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 3-2 loss to Milwaukee.
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts against the Reds. He last faced them Sept. 18 in St. Louis when he allowed three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 3-0 loss.
Cincinnati will counter with Brandon Williamson (0-0, 1.59), who is making his second career start. Williamson, wo was acquired from Seattle March 14, 2022, for Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez, allowed one run on two hits in 5 2/3 innings while throwing 72 pitches in a no-decision Tuesday at Colorado.
"It's exciting. The team was thrilled for him," Reds manager David Bell said. "Obviously, Brandon has got a long way to go and he's going to keep getting better."
--Field Level Media