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BOS@STL: Lynn fans four in strong outing

To salvage just one game against the Orioles, the Cardinals on Sunday will rely on old rather than new.

After the team's two additions from the non-waiver Trade Deadline surrendered five home runs to the O's in two steep losses to begin this series, the Cardinals will hope Lance Lynn's recent consistency continues in the series finale.

Lynn enters Sunday's contest with six consecutive quality starts, a streak he topped off in his last outing with seven innings in which he allowed two runs (one earned).

"I thought Lance did a terrific job last [start] of really staying consistent, and I think some things were noted postgame about that consistency and his disposition and how he handles success and failures," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Lynn has allowed two runs or fewer in 17 of 23 starts this season and hasn't surrendered more than two runs in any outing since June. The right-hander has allowed only three home runs since April.

That will be the key to success if the Cardinals -- who will wrap up Interleague Play Sunday with a losing record after dropping to 7-12 on Saturday -- are to avoid a sweep at the hands of a powerful Orioles lineup.

The Orioles, who have already secured their seventh straight series victory, have hit a Major-League best 147 home runs this season. After hitting six on Friday night, the O's followed up with three more Saturday.

"It's always fun to see all the balls fly out -- as long as it's not against us," said Orioles starter Chris Tillman, who benefited from Friday's six homers. "I think it's only a matter of time before these guys did this."

Nelson Cruz hit his 30th home run of the season Saturday while catcher Caleb Joseph homered in his fifth consecutive game. The Orioles have hit two or more home runs in 43 games this season and are 33-10 when they have hit at least two homers in a game.

Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, who will enter Sunday with three straight quality starts, will hope for more of the same.

Lynn, meanwhile, has avoided big innings, and the Cardinals will need him to now avoid the long ball if they are to get out of American League play with one last victory.

"We talked about his maturing process, and you're seeing a little more consistency [from Lance]," Matheny said. "He's still intense, [but] I think he's found a way to keep that intensity without it negatively affecting his stuff. I think that's a huge step in his career."

Cardinals: Bullpen worn down in first two games
Just one day after the bullpen was forced to pick up six innings in a blowout series-opening loss to the Orioles, the burden was again put back on the relievers in Saturday's loss.

The Orioles got to new Cardinals starter John Lackey, scoring nine runs on him in five-plus innings. The Cards' bullpen has now pitched nine of 16 innings in the first two games of this series.

Nick Greenwood, who threw three innings and 47 pitches Friday, and Sam Freeman, were expected to be unavailable Saturday and went unused, Seth Maness (two innings), who had also tossed an inning Friday, and Kevin Siegrist (one inning) closed out Saturday's loss.

Orioles: Gonzalez optioned to make room for Ubaldo
The Orioles optioned Miguel Gonzalez to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Ubaldo Jimenez to return from the disabled list and start Saturday.

As part of an O's rotation that had posted a 3.00 ERA since the All-Star break, Gonzalez started his second half well. The right-hander went 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA. That ERA, though, was better than only Kevin Gausman's among Orioles starters since the break.

Gonzalez will only have to miss one start for Baltimore. The O's have an off-day on Thursday which could allow Gonzalez to return and start on July 19 after missing only one turn.

Jimenez delivered a quality start in his first game back. The right-hander allowed three runs over six innings and struck out five batters in the 10-3 win.

Worth noting
• The Cardinals have dropped to third in the National League Central with a pair of losses to begin this series. They will return to National League play for the duration of the season Monday in Miami.

• While the Cardinals entered this series leading 5-1 all-time, the Orioles have closed the gap to 5-3 by winning the first two games. Comments