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Jun 13, 2024 2:14 am

Cards’ Nolan Arenado brings hot bat to finale vs. Pirates

nolan arenado

Nolan Arenado tried to stay patient during a bumpy start to the season.

Now things are starting to click for the third baseman, who has collected multiple hits in three consecutive games. He will try to maintain his hot streak when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon.

It will be the rubber match of a three-game series. The Pirates won the series opener 2-1 on Monday before the Cardinals answered with a 4-2 victory on Tuesday.

Arenado was a big reason for St. Louis’ win. He finished 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and he provided his typical strong defense.

“If I stay locked in on both sides of the ball, I feel like I can help this team win a lot of games,” Arenado said. “That’s all I’m focused on.”

In his past three games, he is 7-for-12 with two doubles.

“I’ve gotten a little lucky a few times,” Arenado said. “I’ve been able to slow the game down, hit behind the ball. I’ve been working on this in the cage, and it’s kind of cool seeing it come to fruition in the game.

“The last few days have been good. I’ve been aggressive and swinging at good pitches, and good things happen.”

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said Arenado set himself apart as a hard worker.

“He’s the first guy here on the field, working early, trying to get his swing to where it feels good,” Marmol said. “We’re getting closer and closer. (Wednesday) was another awesome day for him of just him being able to do what he wants.”

The Pirates hope one of their hitters can find a groove in a similar way.

Henry Davis, whom the Pirates drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2021, belted a solo home run on Wednesday. Davis entered the game hitting .150 (12-for-80) with zero homers this season, and the Pirates are hopeful that the blast can help him regain confidence at the plate and tap into his natural abilities.

Pirates manager Derek Shelton said Davis has shown good signs as of late.

“Maybe the fact that that’s the first homer now, there’s a little sigh of relief,” Shelton said. “But the at-bat before, he did a really good job. He took a really good swing and missed a homer by about 10 feet. So overall, very encouraging.”

Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn (2-3, 3.58 ERA) is set to make his 14th start. Lynn has 63 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings, and he needs 31 more strikeouts to reach 2,000 for his career.

In 24 career games (22 starts) against Pittsburgh, Lynn is 7-8 with a 5.31 ERA. During those contests, he has walked 51 and struck out 108 in 118 2/3 innings.

The Pirates will counter with right-hander Mitch Keller (8-3, 3.16 ERA). He has earned a victory in each of his last six outings, including his last time out when he tossed six scoreless innings against the Minnesota Twins on Friday.

Keller is 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 10 career starts against the Cardinals. He faced them twice in 2023, finishing with a pair of no-decisions and a 3.00 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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