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STL@COL: Lynn fans seven over eight scoreless innings

In the series opener between the Marlins and Cardinals on Friday night, Nate Eovaldi will meet Lance Lynn in a matchup of pitchers who got off to rough starts in their last outing.

For Lynn, the problem was partially physical: He lasted only two innings as a blister opened on his right middle finger, and he allowed six earned runs.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that everything looks good for Friday's start, a relief for a rotation that's already without the injured Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia.

"Everything looks good. It's something we'll have to continue to keep an eye on," Matheny said. "Those things can end up causing you more trouble than what you want. But he seems to be toughening up that weak skin."

Lynn said he commonly pitches with blisters, but this one was worse than normal because it opened. The issue specifically bothered him on his breaking pitches. He described it as a burning sensation when he tried to throw his offspeed pitches. As a result, he threw mostly fastballs in that start.

Said Lynn: "The ball was moving good, but it was one of those things where everything kind of leaked back toward the middle. I didn't have that extra bite that I normally do."

On the visitor's side, the Marlins will be looking for a stronger start from Eovaldi, who gave up four runs in the first inning of his last start against Oakland. Though he was able to put in seven innings, Miami lost and his ERA increased to 3.71 with five earned runs.

Eovaldi has had issues in the opening frame all year, allowing 14 runs (12 earned) on 27 hits. In his last four starts, the right-hander hasn't escaped the first inning unscathed.

"I feel like I've had a little bump in the road with the first inning these past few outings, so if I could just do that and then avoid a bump further in the game -- I always feel like I have one bad inning, so if I could just improve on that, I'll be good to go," Eovaldi said.

Despite leadoff struggles, the Marlins were able to pick him up, so he posted a 1-1 record in June. Still, Miami only won one game he started in the month.

Cardinals: Carpenter a bright spot for struggling Cards offense
St. Louis struggled to score on its concluded road trip, scoring only six runs over six games before a seven-run outburst on Thursday. But third baseman Matt Carpenter was a bright spot, carrying an eight-game hitting streak into the series against Miami. On the trip, he was 13-for-36.

"I think he's really becoming one of those leaders, one of those guys who has that makeup, too, that likes that spot, that opportunity to go out there and be somebody who can set a tone," Matheny said. "Obviously, as a leadoff hitter, he has that opportunity every night. But not just in the lineup as a guy who sets the tone, but in the clubhouse and on the field.

"He brings an energy to our club and to our lineup. It's something that you can't force on somebody. You either have it or you don't, and he just has it."

The success is a return to form for Carpenter, who batted .318 and led baseball in runs, hits and doubles last season, his first as a full-time starter.

"For Matt to have the kind of year he had last year and to have had the continued success he's had this year, there's not those gaping weaknesses on a consistent basis," Matheny said. "I'd say he knows himself and his swing about as well as anybody in the league."

Marlins: Fish hope Solano's bat catches up with glove
Donovan Solano has proven himself to be a capable infield substitute for the Marlins in the wake of Adeiny Hechavarria's strained right triceps, but Miami would like to see more from him at the plate. Since being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on June 25, Solano has started all seven games dating back to last Thursday and has split time between shortstop and second base.

Solano has made a handful of spectacular plays during his latest stint with the Marlins, which should come as no surprise since the infielder was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year by Wilson in 2013.

Entering Thursday, Solano had not committed an error in 80 chances across 140 1/3 innings. But he did have a tough ninth inning on Thursday night against the Philies, when a few mental mistakes cost the Marlins two runs and a loss. Solano threw home unsuccessfully on a grounder by Jimmy Rollins -- instead of to first for the second out -- as Tony Gwynn Jr. scored to tie the game at 4. Chase Utley then chopped a grounder to second base that forced Solano to throw to first for a second out instead of a third, which allowed the go-ahead run to score.

"In the heat of the battle, sometimes you have a split-second to make a decision," manager Mike Redmond said. "That's the way it goes."

For all his leather-flashing, however, Solano hasn't impressed with his bat this year. Since being recalled, he has gone 5-for-29. In 35 games before that, he went 10-for-55.

Worth noting:
• Miami dropped the 2013 season series against the Cardinals, 2-4, and were swept at Busch Stadium in the same weekend last year, from July 5-7.

• Allen Craig is expected to return to the Cardinals' lineup after getting the day off Thursday. He is hitless in his last seven at-bats.

• This is the Cardinals' first home game after returning from their first West Coast road trip of the season, a stretch of 10 games in 11 days. Comments