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After Yadier Molina’s two homers led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win at Milwaukee Saturday Dante Pettis Color Rush Jersey , manager Mike Matheny spoke hopefully of a bounce the win would create.

His instinct proved correct Sunday when St. Louis capped a rough road trip with an 8-2 rout that allowed it to salvage a split of a four-game series with the National League Central leaders and pushed it within 4 1/2 games of the Brewers.

The Cardinals open a six-game homestand Monday night in Busch Stadium with the second of four straight series against first-place teams, facing the Cleveland Indians.

St. Louis (40-36) scored just seven runs in its first three games in Milwaukee, whiffing 34 times, with 15 occurring in a 2-1 loss Friday night. It fanned another 11 times on Sunday but mixed in 10 hits, including a three-run homer by Jose Martinez to cap a five-run fourth inning that turned momentum for good.

While the Cardinals enter the series with hope that they are turning things around, Cleveland (43-33) did so during the last week. Its 12-2 rout Sunday of Detroit was its seventh straight win, moving it eight games ahead of the Tigers and Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.

The Indians also appear to have the mound advantage for the series opener with Mike Clevinger (6-2, 3.00 ERA) against spot starter John Gant (1-2, 4.39).

Clevinger’s last start was one of his best this year. He notched 10 strikeouts Tuesday night in 7 2/3 innings of a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Clevinger has lasted at least six innings in five straight starts, solidifying his place in a deep rotation.

“His fastball had really good life Vita Vea Color Rush Jersey ,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria told mlb.com. “He was keeping the ball down below the zone. You saw him get a lot of checked swings on some of his breaking pitches … he’s got a pretty good repertoire and was able to command consistently in the zone consistently throughout the whole ballgame.”

Gant is starting in place of Michael Wacha, who took his 8-2 record to the disabled list last week after suffering an oblique strain Wednesday in Philadelphia. The former Atlanta Braves prospect is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts this year, leading some to wonder why Dakota Hudson (10-2 at Triple-A Memphis) or Daniel Poncedeleon was not picked to replace Wacha.

In his last start, Gant lasted 5 1/3 innings on May 25 in Pittsburgh, losing 8-1 despite fanning seven and walking none. He was charged with four hits and three runs.

Gant has made one career start against Cleveland, lasting two innings in a 2016 game for the Braves and permitting one run and three hits with two strikeouts.

Carlos Martinez (3-4, 3.24) starts Tuesday night for St. Louis opposite Corey Kluber (11-3, 2.10). Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.50) faces the Indians’ Shane Bieber (2-0, 2.45) in a battle of rookie right-handers on Wednesday night.

Jordan Zimmermann looked like a $110 million pitcher in his last start. The Detroit Tigers hope the oft-injured Zimmermann can produce like that on a regular basis.

Zimmermann Ronald Jones II Color Rush Jersey , who will start for the Tigers against the Texas Rangers on Friday in Detroit, has been a huge disappointment since signing a five-year, $110 million free-agent contract in November 2015. His first two seasons with the club were marred by injuries and ineffectiveness.

He took another trip to the disabled list in May because of a shoulder impingement. He has made three starts since his return and was sharp at Toronto on Sunday, holding the Blue Jays to one run on five hits in seven innings. He didn’t issue a walk while striking out six.

His curveball and slider neutralized Toronto’s lineup as the Tigers ended an 11-game losing streak.

“My off-speed stuff was really good (Sunday),” Zimmermann said afterward. “I think the slider’s coming back.”

If Zimmermann (3-0, 3.91 ERA) can string together some quality outings, he could help the Tigers on two fronts. He could provide stability to a rotation that hasn’t gone deep into games often enough. He could also enhance his trade value, which would provide financial relief to a rebuilding franchise.

He lost his only career start against the Rangers despite holding them to three runs in eight innings in 2016.

Detroit’s roster has been in a state of flux since losing first baseman Miguel Cabrera to a season-ending biceps injury last month. Center fielder Leonys Martin and closer Shane Greene are on the disabled list, and Opening Day second baseman Dixon Machado has been designated for assignment.

Niko Goodrum, who has taken over second base M.J. Stewart Color Rush Jersey , hit a solo homer Thursday but Texas took the opener of the series 7-5. The Tigers have lost 14 of their last 16 games.

Zimmermann, 32, is 13 years younger than his mound opponent in the second game of the four-game series. Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.76) will make his 16th start this season for Texas.

Colon lasted just long enough to collect the victory in his last appearance, when he gave up three runs in five innings to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

With another victory Friday, he will surpass Dennis Martinez for the most wins by a Latin American pitcher. They are tied at 245.

“Tying Dennis Martinez, it’s such an accomplishment,” Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre told MLB.com after Colon’s last outing. “It takes him a long time, 45 years, but it’s nice that he was able to get that Carlton Davis Color Rush Jersey , and hopefully he can break it in his next start.”

Colon is 9-10 with a 5.20 ERA in 29 career appearances (28 starts) against Detroit.

Texas designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo did not play in the series opener, so his on-base streak remains at 44 games. He is dealing with tightness in his right quadriceps.

“I don’t want to push it,” Choo told the Dallas Morning News. “Do this until the All-Star break, and the rest will help.”

Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman picked up the slack Thursday, delivering two-run homers as the Rangers built a seven-run lead and held off Detroit’s late surge.
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