Lynn looks to continue his dominance of the Cubs and earn his NL best-tying 13th victory when the St. Louis Cardinals open a three-game series in Chicago on Friday.
Lynn (12-4, 3.10 ERA) has faced the Cubs three times this season, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA and striking out 17 in 19 1-3 innings, and the right-hander enters this matchup on a roll - helped by one of those starts against Chicago.
He improved to 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three starts this month after allowing four hits in six innings of a 7-0 win over the Cubs on Sunday.
"Before the All-Star break, I had those few starts that were pretty miserable, and it upset me," Lynn told the team's official website. "I'm pitching with a little chip on my shoulder, trying to get as many outs as I can before they come get me."
The Cardinals (53-46) outscored the Cubs 23-1 in sweeping last weekend's three-game homestand before losing 5-3 to Los Angeles on Monday. St. Louis bounced back to take the next three from the Dodgers, getting a season-high 18 hits in a 7-4 win Thursday.
"You guys get tired of hearing it, but I just think this is the team we are," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think they believe that, too. It would be nice to ride it for a few months."
The Cubs (40-57), last in the majors with 356 runs, rebounded from last weekend's sweep by taking two of three in Pittsburgh. Chicago now gets to face the Cardinals and Pirates at Wrigley Field, where it's won 10 of 12.
A return home may help the Cubs after they totaled 10 runs on their 2-4 trip. One bright spot for Chicago offensively has been the play of Anthony Rizzo , who hit his fifth homer in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Since being called up June 26, Rizzo is batting .323 in 24 games as the Cubs have gone 15-9. He picked up one of Chicago's four hits off Lynn on Sunday.
Travis Wood (4-5, 4.33) will oppose Lynn again after allowing seven runs and nine hits over six innings last weekend. He went 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his first three career starts against St. Louis.
"I'm not sure what happened," said Wood, who has an 11.81 ERA in losing both of his starts since the break. "Their series, I guess. They put the ball in play, got the hits when they needed them, scored the runs."
Matt Holliday took the left-hander deep Sunday and is 4 for 12 in his career when facing Wood. Holliday homered again Thursday to continue his tear, going 2 for 4 to raise his average to .427 over his last 34 games.
The Cardinals have taken seven of 11 meetings this season but lost two of three in their only trip to Wrigley from April 23-25.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|July 26, 2012||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Left game - right calf cramp|
|July 24, 2012||Lance Berkman||Day-to-Day||Left game - HBP right knee|
|July 17, 2012||Matt Holliday||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left thigh|
|July 08, 2012||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Bruised left leg|
|June 06, 2012||Jaime Garcia||15-Day DL||Strained left shoulder|
|June 06, 2012||Jaime Garcia||60-Day DL||Sprained left shoulder|
|July 21, 2012||Matt Garza||Day-to-Day||Left game - right triceps cramp|
|June 16, 2012||Ryan Dempster||15-Day DL||Right lat tightness|
|June 16, 2012||Ryan Dempster||15-Day DL||Right lat tightness|
|June 13, 2012||Ian Stewart||15-Day DL||Sore left wrist|
|June 02, 2012||Blake Parker||60-Day DL||Stress reaction in right elbow|
|May 19, 2012||Welington Castillo||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Cards almost had five of a kind.
Matt Holliday , Yadier Molina and Lance Berkman started a power show by the St. Louis Cardinals, who became the first team in eight years to hit a home run in each of the first five innings and went on to beat the Chicago Cubs 9-6 Friday.
Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig also connected off Travis Wood (4-6), whose five homers allowed matched the Cubs record.
Molina hit a two-run homer in the second, with the rest solo shots.
"The flags were blowing in, but the ball was still carrying," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "There were just a lot of hard hit balls. "Whenever you can mix five home runs in five innings, that's pretty impressive."
Carpenter put St. Louis ahead 7-6 when he homered on the first pitch of the fourth, and Craig homered into the left-field bleachers in the fifth. The previous team to homer in each of the first five innings was Houston against Colorado on Oct. 2, 2004, according to STATS LLC.
"All those balls were crushed," Holliday said. "None of those were cheap home runs. If the wind was blowing out, those would have been a lot more impressive."
Lance Lynn (13-4) tied New York's R.A. Dickey and Washington's Gio Gonzalez for the NL lead in wins despite allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings. Jason Motte completed four shutout innings for the Cardinals' bullpen, getting three outs for his 23rd save in 27 chances as St. Louis won for the seventh time in eight games.
"The offense carried me, and the bullpen came in and did what they do," Lynn said. "It was one of those days - a team win."
Lynn allowed one run in 19 innings during his first three July starts, but the Cubs' first three batters scored. Lynn also gave up three runs in the third as the Cubs rallied to tie 6-6 and ended a streak of 21 straight games in which the St. Louis starter pitched at least six innings - the club's longest stretch since 2004.
"It was hit or miss it seems like," said Lynn, who threw six scoreless innings in his previous start. "The time before I was able to make pitches and get out of innings with runners on. Today when they got the runner on they scored."
Rookie Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, his sixth in 25 games since he was brought up from Triple-A Iowa.
"It's a good feeling to be in that kind of mindset at the plate," Rizzo said. "I just want to stick to it right now and keep going."
Berkman's third-inning homer gave him 1,200 career RBIs and was just his second home run this season. Berkman has reached base in 37 straight games dating to last July 31, the longest streak in the majors, but he has missed 68 games this year because of lower body injuries.
Holliday's solo homer in the first landed just to the left of the camera booth in center field. He added an RBI single in the seventh and singled in the ninth, leaving him with a .434 average, eight homers and 31 RBIs over his last 34 games. He's homered five times in 12 games against the Cubs this season.
Starlin Castro had three hits for the Cubs, including an RBI single in the first and a leadoff triple to center in the third.
Rizzo added an RBI single in the third and scored on Alfonso Soriano 's double into the left-field corner, tying the game at 6-all. Rizzo's 28 hits in July are the most among NL rookies.
Wood gave up eight runs and seven hits in five innings and has allowed 22 earned runs in 15 2-3 innings since the All-Star break.
"He does have to keep the ball down," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "You're going to get away with that a little more against some other teams. This team, there's a reason why those left-handed numbers are what they are. If you make a mistake, they don't miss them."
The prior Cubs starter to give up five homers in a game was Carlos Zambrano , in his final start for Chicago last Aug. 12.
"Things didn't go as planned," Wood said. "I missed some pitches, and they didn't miss the pitches that I missed."
Chicago put two runners on in the eighth, bringing the potential tying run to the plate with one out, but Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto hit long flyouts off Marc Rzepczynski .
"I was real happy and impressed with the bullpen," Matheny said.
NOTES: In a pregame ceremony the Cubs honored Ron Santo , who was posthumously inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Sunday. Santo's No. 10 uniform number was carved into the outfield grass and his young grandson threw out the ceremonial first pitch, which was received by former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood . ... Cubs RHP Matt Garza won't pitch again before Tuesday's trade deadline after an MRI revealed a slight fluid buildup in his right triceps area. ... Cardinals 3B David Freese was held out of the starting lineup after leaving Thursday's win over the Dodgers because of a cramp in his right calf. Matheny said Freese was available for pinch hitting. ... Wood walked Lynn in the fourth. The Cubs have walked pitchers a big league-high 16 times this season. ... St. Louis' five homers tied a season high.