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St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates - 8/1/2013

St. Louis (62-44) at Pittsburgh (65-42)

MLB Baseball: Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm (PNC Park)

The Line: Pittsburgh Pirates -102 / St. Louis Cardinals -108 --- Over/Under: 7.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals face off on Thursday in Pittsburgh in a battle of the top two teams in the NL Central.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have taken the first four games in their series with the Cardinals and now have a 2.5 game lead in the National League Central as they look for another huge win to close out the series on Thursday. On Wednesday, Neil Walker had two hits including a home run and Russell Martin, Garrett Jones, and Clint Barmes each had two hits as the Pirates scored five runs on 10 hits. Starting pitcher Jeff Locke allowed 10 hits and four runs, while striking out six over 4.0 innings to not factor in the decision as Tony Watson got the win and Mark Melancon earned his fifth save. For Thursday’s game, the Pirates start Charlie Morton who has won his last two starts. For the season, Morton has allowed 44 hits and 17 earned runs, while striking out 33 over 42.2 innings for a 3-2 record and a 3.59 ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates  - 8/1/2013

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The St. Louis Cardinals have now lost seven games in a row and it is starting to look like one of the best first halves of the season this year could be wasted. On Wednesday, Matt Holliday had three hits and Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, and Daniel Descalso all had two hits as the Cardinals scored four runs on 13 hits. Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright allowed eight hits and four earned runs, while striking out six over 7.0 innings to not get the decision as Trevor Rosenthal took the loss to fall to 1-2 on the year. For Thursday’s game, the Cardinals start Joe Kelly who has worked as both a starter and out of the bullpen this season. For the year, Kelly has allowed 58 hits and 21 earned runs, while striking out 41 over 55 innings for a 1-3 record and a 3.44 ERA.

Pittsburgh is 5-1 in their last six games, 22-7 in their last 29 home games against a right-handed starter, and 6-1 in Morton’s last seven starts. St. Louis is 1-7 in their last eight games as an underdog, 0-7 in their last seven road games, and 1-6 in Kelly’s last seven road starts. St. Louis has lost the last six meetings of these two.

I see plenty of scoring with these two pitchers and my first free pick is on the over. My second Free Pick is on the winning side and I will give out that FREE PICK on Thursday’s 1stQuarter Podcast.

Over 8

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