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First Pitch: Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright to tie batterymate record in series finale

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In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman celebrates the 324th start of Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina by looking back at their first start together. Also, a happy birthday shoutout to Lars Nootbaar! And, as always, Hochman picks a random St. Louis Cards card from the hat. Ten Hochman is presented by Window Nation!

First Pitch is scheduled for 12:15 at Busch Stadium.

After a miraculous late-inning comeback last night for the Cardinals, Thursday presents a quick turnaround for a series finale that will feature a record-tying game for Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright. 

Molina and Wainwright will tie Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan with 324 starts as a battery, the most all-time. The Cardinals pair will break the record sometime next week when they return home to St. Louis to take on the Brewers or Reds. 

Alec Burleson, who was called up to the majors yesterday, will make his debut today. He will play right field and bat seventh.

The number five prospect in the Cardinals organization was drafted in the compensatory round of the 2020 draft as a compensation pick returned for Marcell Ozuna's signing in Atlanta. Burleson has been a star at AAA Memphis.

Brendan Donovan will lead off for the Cardinals, and last night's hero, Tommy Edman, will hit second and play shortstop. Everyday right fielder and typical leadoff man Lars Nootbaar will receive a day off. 

Albert Pujols will hit sixth and DH. 

Tyler O'Neill was originally set to be in the lineup, but was a late scratch. Manager Oliver Marmol said O'Neill was experiencing neck soreness after sleeping last night, and was receiving treatment. He implied that had the games start time been later in the day, O'Neill could have stayed in the lineup, and could still play later in the game. But they decided to move with caution and start Ben DeLuzio in center. 

Notebook: Cardinals accelerate Alec Burleson's arrival, set to give prospect a swing
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Unfazed by deficits after unlikely win, confident Cardinals aim to overtake Mets, Braves

Lineups

CARDINALS (81-56)

1. Brendan Donovan, 2B

2. Tommy Edman, SS

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Nolan Arenado, DH

5. Corey Dickerson, LF

6. Albert Pujols, DH

7. Alec Burleson, RF

8. Yadier Molina, C

9. Ben DeLuzio, CF

P: Adam Wainwright, RHP

Nationals (48-89)

1. Lane Thomas, CF

2. Luis Garcia, 2B

3. Joey Meneses, RF

4. Luke Voit, 1B

5. Keibert Ruiz, C

6. Nelson Cruz, DH

7. Cesar Hernandez, 3B

8. CJ Abrams, SS

9. Alex Call, LF

P: Josiah Gray, RHP

Pitching Matchup

LHP Adam Wainwright (10-9, 3.21 ERA): Despite only going five innings in his last start, Wainwright was able to earn his 10th win of the season, marking the 12th season of his career where he has earned double digit wins. Sitting on 168 innings pitched, Wainwright would need to throw at least six innings to stay on track of 200 innings pitched this season.

RHP Josiah Gray (7-9, 4.91 ERA): The hard throwing right hander has struggled to keep the ball down in the zone in his second major league season. Gray was one of the key pieces sent to Washington for Max Scherzer and Trey Turner. 

Wild Cards

  • The Cardinals trade deadline acquisitions have paid dividends immediately. After Jo Jo Romero appeared in Saturday's win, the Cardinals improved to 26-3 in games in which their new players have appeared.
  • The magic number to clinch the division is 17, meaning any combination of 17 wins for the Cardinals or losses for the Brewers would win them the NL Central Crown. At this moment the Cardinals own a 9.5-game lead.

Injury Report 

  • Left-hander Steven Matz (torn MCL) made his first rehab appearance with AA Springfield, starting and going an inning and a third, allowing three walks but also striking out three. Matz will make his next appearance in the minors on Friday with an increased pitch count of 45. (Updated Sept. 7)
  • RHP Drew VerHagen (hip) and RHP Alex Reyes (shoulder) underwent season-ending surgeries. Both right-handed pitchers are expected to be ready for spring training after a winter of recovery. (Updated Aug. 20)

Up Next

The Cardinals close the four-game home stand against the Washington Nationals then jet off to Pittsburg for a quick three game weekend series. They return to St. Louis for a seven game home stand against the Brewers and Reds starting on Tuesday.

Check back here throughout the afternoon and evening for immediate coverage of the game and any news that surfaces from the Cardinals' pre-game activities. We will publish expanded game coverage online Thursday night, and also in the pages of  Friday's Post-Dispatch.

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