Lance Lynn was a revelation for the St. Louis Cardinals for most of last year, and he feels he's much more prepared in 2013.
He's certainly a lot lighter.
The trimmed-down right-hander looks to begin proving his first full season in the majors wasn't a fluke, as he tries to lead the Cardinals to a second straight victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the finale of this three-game set Wednesday night.
Lynn finished fourth in the NL in wins last season, going 18-7 with a 3.78 ERA while helping St. Louis reach the playoffs via the wild card. Despite being an All-Star, he compiled a 7.31 ERA over a six-start stretch from July 27-Aug. 24 and was demoted to the bullpen for two weeks.
That may have been a big reason why manager Mike Matheny opted to mostly use Lynn as a reliever during the postseason, and he went 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA in six games - two starts.
Lynn is starting 2013 looking to remain in the rotation, and he shed 40 pounds in an effort to do so.
Listed at 240 pounds, Lynn struggled through his first five starts of spring training, going 2-3 while giving up 14 runs in 17 2-3 innings. However, he concluded the preseason schedule by yielding two hits in six shutout innings against Miami on Thursday.
"I thought he got better every single start," Matheny told the team's official website. "He's got a little edge now to him, and a lot of that comes from everybody second-guessing his offseason work habits. Good. I hope he carries it for a long time."
Lynn beat the Diamondbacks on the road in his only start against them May 7, tossing five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and four walks in a 9-6 victory.
A similar performance should be enough for the Cardinals to take this series after Matt Holliday , Jon Jay and Pete Kozma connected for one homer each in Tuesday's 6-1 victory. St. Louis mustered five hits in a season-opening 6-2 defeat a day earlier.
Holliday, who has driven in three runs in this series, is hitting .326 with five homers and 17 RBIs over his last 22 games at Chase Field.
Brandon McCarthy is slated to take the mound for the Diamondbacks, and that may be seen as an accomplishment on its own after experiencing a major scare with Oakland.
The veteran right-hander was hit in the right side of the head by a line drive off the bat of the Los Angeles Angels ' Erick Aybar on Sept. 5, sustaining an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture. McCarthy underwent a two-hour surgery, and the A's medical staff warned that his situation was "life threatening."
While he's since been cleared to play, McCarthy's health issues stretch beyond that incident. He's battled arm trouble in each of the past six seasons, and a recurring right shoulder strain landed him on the disabled list twice last year.
He finished with an 8-6 record and 3.24 ERA in 18 starts, and Arizona was encouraged enough to sign him to a two-year, $15.5 million free-agent contract over the winter.
McCarthy is facing St. Louis for the first time after he spent his first seven seasons in the AL.
Miguel Montero is 11 for 27 with two homers and six RBIs over his last eight meetings with the Cardinals, and he's 3 for 6 while plating two runs in this series. The catcher had two of Arizona's three hits Tuesday, with one leaving the park.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|March 26, 2013||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Strained back|
|March 24, 2013||Rafael Furcal||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 23, 2013||David Freese||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|March 22, 2013||Jason Motte||15-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|March 07, 2013||Rafael Furcal||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|February 22, 2013||Chris Carpenter||60-Day DL||Nerve irritation, right shoulder|
|March 30, 2013||Didi Gregorius||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|March 22, 2013||Cody Ross||15-Day DL||Left calf strain|
|March 22, 2013||Adam Eaton||15-Day DL||Left elbow strain|
|February 18, 2013||Daniel Hudson||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
PHOENIX (AP) -- A long, long night in the desert turned to early morning before the Arizona Diamondbacks finally beat the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cliff Pennington 's single in the 16th inning brought home Jason Kubel from second to give the Diamondbacks a 10-9 victory in a game that didn't end until early Thursday.
At 5 hours and 32 minutes, it was the longest home game in Diamondbacks history as far as time elapsed and tied for the longest at home in terms of innings.
"This is the kind of game you remember as the season goes," Pennington said. "Two weeks from now, if we find ourselves down by four in the sixth, it will be like we have done this before."
Yadier Molina drove in three runs, including a leadoff home run that put St. Louis up 8-7 in the seventh, but Aaron Hill 's RBI single tied it at 8-8 before both teams scored a run in the 12th.
"We put up nine runs and got a lot of hits," the Cardinals' Allen Craig said. "We had some spots where we could have got some more. We just couldn't get it done. That was just a great game, though, to be part of."
Pennington was 0 for 11 to start the season before getting three hits in the extra innings.
The Diamondbacks, who won two of three against the Cardinals, came from behind four times to either take the lead or tie the game.
"Excuse me if I am smiling," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "The things we practiced on, just being tough mentally, they hung in there. I don't know how many lead changes there were. It was over five hours long, 16 innings. It is just a great contribution. The guys were all there. We didn't panic when we got behind. Just outstanding. Just a great win."
Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado each hit a two-run homer, and Gerardo Parra homered, tripled and singled for the Diamondbacks.
Josh Collmenter (1-0) allowed one run on four hits in five innings to get the victory. He had pitched 1 2-3 innings in the team's 6-1 loss on Tuesday night.
"I felt good," Collmenter said. "It was part adrenaline, part wanting to keep in the game for the team. I think we were down to one guy and I wanted to go as long as I could. Health-wise I felt good. My arm felt good. In that situation, you don't want to let the guys down."
Fernando Salas (0-1), the last pitcher available in the St. Louis bullpen, took the loss.
In the 16th, Kubel drew a leadoff walk. Ian Kennedy , Arizona's opening day starter, pinch hit for Collmenter and put down a sacrifice bunt to move Kubel to second. That brought up Pennington, whose single to center finally ended it.
"We had some chances to finish it off. They did, too," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "It was just one of those back and forth to see who's standing at the end."
Daniel Descalo tied his career high with four hits for St. Louis, including two doubles.
Paul Kozma's RBI single off Collmenter put St. Louis up 9-8 in the 12th, but in the bottom half, Mitchell Boggs allowed a leadoff single to Pennington and hit Eric Chavez in the ribs. Parra's sacrifice bunt advanced the runners then Prado's sacrifice fly tied it 9-9.
Arizona's Brandon McCarthy allowed six runs on nine hits in five-plus innings in his first outing since sustaining a horrific head injury last Sept. 5.
McCarthy, while pitching for Oakland, took a line drive to the side of his head off the bat of Erick Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels , sustaining what the Athletics described at the time as life-threatening injuries. McCarthy was hospitalized and underwent surgery after sustaining an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture.
He signed with Arizona as a free agent in the offseason.
Molina singled in a pair in the Cardinals' four-run third.
Lance Lynn , an 18-game winner last season, had a 4-1 lead after four but never got an out in the fifth.
Parra narrowly missed a second home run with a triple off the wall in left-center, then scored on Lynn's wild pitch. Prado singled, then Hill bounced one over the fence into the pool area in right-center for a ground rule double to put runners at second and third.
Randy Choate relieved Lynn and gave up an RBI sacrifice fly to Miguel Montero . Choate left in favor of right-hander Joe Kelly , whose first pitch was lined by Goldschmidt off the top of the wall in left for a two-run homer that put Arizona up 5-4.
But McCarthy didn't get an out in the sixth. Matt Adams singled and Kozma doubled to put runners at first and second. Left-hander Tony Sipp replaced McCarthy and surrendered a two-run single to Descalso and St. Louis regained the lead 6-5.
Notes: Arizona's previous longest home game was 5 hours, 14 minutes. ... Parra opened the game for Arizona with his first career leadoff home run. ... Arizona OF Cody Ross , on the 15-day DL (left calf strain), begins a rehab assignment at Class A Visalia on Thursday. ... The Cardinals open a three-game series at San Francisco on Friday, sending RHP Jake Westbrook to the mound against the Giants LHP Barry Zito . ... LHP Wade Miley goes for the Diamondbacks at Milwaukee on Friday, with RHP Kyle Lohse starting for the Brewers.