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CIN@PIT: Volquez fans six over 7 2/3 of one-run ball

The Cardinals have created a small opening atop the National League Central, and they'll hope to build upon it when they go for a sweep of the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis' lead over the Brewers, from whom they took the division's top spot Monday, grew to two on Tuesday. It's the defending division champ's largest lead of the season.

"We have a long way to go," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "They've had a good start and they've been going strong since the beginning. We're just hoping that we can put together a good long string here and not look any further than each individual game, which I think guys have done well all season long, not making any more of any one game, any one series.

Matheny also believes his club's postseason experience -- three berths in three years -- will be an asset.

"I don't know if there is enough information to back me, but I do believe that every time we give some of these guys pennant-race experience and postseason experience, it helps answer questions about themselves that a lot of really good players never had the privilege of answering," Matheny said. "How do I perform on that big stage? How do I perform down the stretch when there is more pressure on? Some guys will just never know, and we have some young players who were just thrown right into it.

"I think even the ones who haven't been there look around the room and see there are quite a few guys who have been there and been successful in those situations. We have some experience that can lead to a benefit."

This will be the Pirates' last game against the Cardinals, so if they are to make a push at their first-ever NL Central crown, they'll need to strike soon. Only three games against the Brewers remain, too.

Edinson Volquez will be on the hill for Pittsburgh. He'll be hoping to repeat his last performance, when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Cincinnati. He struck out six in 7 2/3 innings, allowing only one run.

"I was more concentrated on what I was doing," Volquez said. "I was able to get to that tonight and got pitches in their strike zone."

Volquez is in the middle of one of the best stretches of his career; in his last five starts, his ERA is 1.65.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, will throw Shelby Miller, who will need to limit the home runs that have troubled him. He's allowed eight over his last seven starts, and 20 on the season.

Pirates: Reinforcements arrive
Pittsburgh added six players to its roster Tuesday, giving depth to its bullpen and bench.

Two of the recalls from Triple-A Indianapolis were automatic: Lefty Jeff Locke, who made Tuesday night's start against the Cardinals, and outfielder Gregory Polanco.

Also recalled from the Indians were right-handers John Holdzkom and Casey Sadler, and lefty reliever Bobby LaFromboise.

Additionally, infielder/outfielder Chase d'Arnaud had his contract selected from Indianapolis. To make room for d'Arnaud on the 40-man roster, Michael Martinez was designated for assignment.

Cardinals: Wong likely back
After a two-day absence from the starting lineup, Kolten Wong is expected to be back Wednesday.

Wong left Sunday's game after hitting his head on an attempt to catch a ball in shallow right field. Wong homered off the bench in Monday's game and struck out as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday.

"Wong is ready to go today, but to have another day is not a bad idea," Matheny said.

Worth noting
•  Tuesday night's win clinched the season series between these teams for St. Louis. Comments