MIAMI (AP) – The rookie left-hander takes the ball for the Cardinals as they look to avoid losing their first series since late April on Sunday against the Miami Marlins.
When Westbrook came off the disabled list Friday, St. Louis (44-24) had to choose between keeping Lyons (2-2, 3.51 ERA) or highly regarded rookie right-hander Michael Wacha in the rotation.
Manager Mike Matheny said he gave the nod to Lyons, 25, because he’s three years older and has more professional experience than Wacha, who was optioned Friday to Triple-A Memphis.
“It’s nice having that left-hander in the rotation,” Matheny said. “It has been nice to watch Tyler do his thing. He has been very efficient and given us a chance when he has been out there. Michael did a great job, too, but right now it’s a better fit for Tyler.”
Lyons, though, hasn’t been as sharp since giving up two runs and six hits over 14 innings while winning his first two starts. He’s yielded eight runs and 14 hits over 11 2-3 innings in consecutive losses.
Although Lyons appears to have a good chance to regroup against one of the worst offensive clubs in the major leagues, the improving Marlins (20-47) have hit .293 and scored 43 runs during a 5-3 stretch at Marlins Park.
They’ve split the first two of this three-game set with St. Louis, which hasn’t lost a series since dropping two of three to Pittsburgh from April 26-28.
The Cardinals had been limited to seven runs and 24 hits while losing two of three games before matching a season high with 17 hits in a 13-7 victory Saturday. St. Louis improved to 5-3 on a nine-game road trip.
Carlos Beltran led the attack with three hits – two homers – leaving him with a .369 average and six home runs over a major league-best 14-game hitting streak.
“I feel great,” Beltran said. “I’ve been healthy, and good things are happening for me and the team.”
Giancarlo Stanton is finally healthy and also wielding a hot bat for Miami. He’s gone 8 for 20 (.400) with two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs in five games since coming off the disabled list.
“This is a good as I’ve seen him all year,” manager Mike Redmond said. “He’s going to the plate with a lot of confidence right now, and that’s fun to watch.”
Teammate Juan Pierre is 4 for 9 in this series and batting .383 during a season-high 11-game hitting streak.
The Marlins, though, could be without Logan Morrison, who has missed the past three games because of tightness in his back.
Scheduled Miami starter Ricky Nolasco (3-7, 3.80) had a 2.17 ERA over his prior four starts before yielding four runs and a season-high 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-1 loss to Milwaukee on Monday.
The right-hander has been hurt by the team’s lack of scoring, getting seven runs of support over his last eight starts.
Nolasco is 1-4 with a 4.82 ERA in eight career starts versus the Cardinals, though he hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past 18 2-3 innings against them.
Beltran is batting .341 with a homer in 41 career at-bats against Nolasco.
Matt Holliday also has ripped Nolasco, going 11 for 24 with two homers and three doubles. David Freese, who went 3 for 4 with a homer Saturday, has five hits in six at-bats in this matchup.
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