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Pirates To Debut New Personnel In Showdown Against Cardinals

(Sports Network) - The Cardinals made a move yesterday to bolster their rotation in the hopes of securing a second straight National League Central title. Getting home-field advantage in the postseason would be big for St. Louis given Adam Wainwright's success this year at Busch Stadium.

Wainwright puts his perfect 2010 home mark on the line tonight when the Cards try to sweep a three-game set from the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, who were also busy prior to the non-waiver trade deadline.

The right-handed Wainwright is 10-0 with a 1.22 earned run average in 11 starts at Busch Stadium and has allowed just one earned run over his last five starts there, spanning 35 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is second in the National League in wins and third in earned run average, going 14-6 with a 2.23 ERA this season. He carried a 25-inning scoreless streak into a road start versus the Mets on Tuesday, but was tagged for six runs on six hits and three walks over five innings of a loss, his first since June 24.

The 28-year-old is 6-2 with a surprising 5.07 ERA in 15 career games versus the Pirates, 11 of those starts, but beat them on May 9 after yielding two runs over six frames of work.

Just a half-game up on the Reds for first place in the NL Central, the Cards added a new member to their rotation on Saturday, getting Jake Westbrook from the Indians in a three-team trade that featured St. Louis sendingRyan Ludwick to the Padres.

"We've been looking for a quality starting pitcher to add to our rotation for some time," said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. "Westbrook is someone we've had our eyes on for a good period of time."

While St. Louis added to its roster, the Pirates went through their usual purging on Saturday. The club made three separate deals before the deadline, getting catcher Chris Snyder and shortstop Pedro Ciriaco from Arizona, pitcher James McDonald and outfielder Andrew Lambo from the Dodgers and pitcher Joe Martinezand outfielder John Bowker from the Giants.

Of those players, only Snyder and McDonald will be on Pittsburgh's major league roster today. The Pirates bullpen will certainly have a new look after Octavio Dotel (Dodgers), Javier Lopez (Giants) and D.J. Carrasco(Diamondbacks) were all traded. Position players Bobby Crosby and Ryan Church were also dealt to Arizona.

"It's very disappointing," Pirates reliever Evan Meek told his team's website. "Geez, it's frustrating. Again, it's the business side of the game. All you can do is wish them the best and hope that they adapt and are happy with where they're at. I'm going to miss them very much."

After all that the Cardinals recorded an 11-1 victory over the Pirates. Albert Pujols and Colby Rasmus both homered, with Rasmus notching his career-best 17th home run, to back 5 1/3 shutout innings from Jeff Suppan, who picked up his first victory of the season (1-6) and St. Louis' fourth in six games.

Jeff Clement clubbed a pinch-hit homer for the Pirates, who have lost three straight and seven of nine. Daniel McCutchen, recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday, allowed four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and six walks in 5 2/3 frames to receive the loss.

The Pirates today turn to Zach Duke, who has pitched to a 3.18 ERA in three starts since coming off the disabled list and has won consecutive outings since a personal five-start losing streak.

Duke broke his skid with a win over the Brewers on July 21, holding them to three runs -- two earned -- over six innings. The left-hander then lasted another six frames in Colorado on Tuesday, getting charged with two runs on three hits in a 4-2 victory, improving to 5-9 on the season with a 5.09 ERA.

The 27-year-old faced the Cardinals on May 7 and did not factor into his team's 4-3 loss after giving up three unearned runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings of work.

The Cardinals took two of three in Pittsburgh when the clubs met for the first time from May 7-9. St. Louis won 10 of the 15 meetings a season ago, including a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh from Aug. 7-9.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.