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TEX@ARI: Cahill fans four over eight dominant innings

The Cardinals opened the 2013 season by dropping two of three games to the D-backs in Phoenix. That has turned out to be a rare event.

With the teams set to reunite for a four-game set on Monday night at Busch Stadium, St. Louis has lost only one other series this season. The Cardinals own the best record in the Majors as they head into a potential playoff preview with the D-backs, who lead the National League West.

Arizona is hoping the new week represents a return to normalcy. Last Monday, the club played a doubleheader against the Rangers, then had two days off -- one scheduled, one a rainout. On Saturday, a rain delay in Chicago pushed the end of their game against the Cubs past midnight, ahead of Sunday's afternoon game.

"To be honest with you, going into [Saturday], we've had no rhythm to our schedule at all," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We were sitting here for almost 2 1/2 hours [Saturday], it felt like Monday was weeks ago. We were really kind of rolling, we were looking forward to what we had ahead of us, and there's a lot of interruption. We haven't been on the field, we haven't practiced at all. That's not concerning, because we probably try to do less, try to shorten our workouts before the game to try and stay fresh."

Through it all, the D-backs went 4-2 over the past week and are 16-9 since May 6.

"It's kind of getting to the point where I think we'll look forward to getting to St. Louis," Gibson said. "Hopefully we'll get some weather where we can get some early work in and just have a good BP session."

Gibson will hand the ball to Trevor Cahill, who will square off against Lance Lynn in a battle of pitchers who have been adept at keeping their teams in games. Neither has allowed more than four runs in a start this season.

Cahill (3-5, 2.88 ERA) held the Rangers to three earned runs in eight innings last Monday and now will pitch on six days' rest thanks to Wednesday's rainout. The right-hander opened his season against the Cardinals, giving up three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings, with seven strikeouts.

Lynn (7-1, 2.91) began his season by surrendering four runs in four innings against the D-backs, but it's been mostly smooth sailing since.

The righty held the Royals to two runs over seven innings on Wednesday, but received a no-decision. An offense that has averaged 5.9 runs per game for him, first among starters, didn't take the lead until after he exited.

D-backs: Taking it slow with Bloomquist
Gibson wanted to give infielder Willie Bloomquist another start on Sunday after the veteran went 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored in his season debut on Saturday. But the Arizona skipper decided against it, choosing to be cautious with a player who hadn't seen big league action since last Sept. 3

Bloomquist had been on the disabled list with a strained right intercostal muscle since late in Spring Training before being activated on Friday. The 35-year-old said he will do what he can to stay on the field.

"Everything I do is trying to prevent injury," Bloomquist said. "That's why you work out, that's why you lift weights, it's why you stretch, it's why you go hot and cold tub every day. Just continue to do all that stuff and try and continue to stay healthy."

Cardinals: Beltran healthy but resting
• St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said he held outfielder Carlos Beltran out of Sunday's lineup not because of an injury, but simply to get the 36-year-old a day off.

"He's just tired," Matheny said. "I think everybody is. It's been a pretty crazy run here. He's just the honest one."

Beltran is 7-for-17 with two home runs in his past four games and is batting .322 with 11 homers since April 17.

• Matheny and catcher Yadier Molina were ejected from Sunday's loss to the Giants, and Molina had to be restrained from going after first-base umpire Clint Fagan, who called him out on a bang-bang play at first base.

Worth noting
• Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is 3-for-9 with three home runs against Cahill.

• St. Louis is trying to avoid taking consecutive losses for the first time since April 27-29.

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