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Cubs Host Cardinals As Wainwright Aims For 20th Victory

(Sports Network) - Georgia-born right-hander Adam Wainwright makes his second career attempt at 20 victories today when the St. Louis Cardinals visit Wrigley Field for the opener of a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs.

Wainwright was a 19-game winner last season and failed in a season-ending attempt at No. 20 with a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Oct. 2.

He got win No. 19 of 2010 on Sept. 19 against San Diego, allowing five hits and a run in eight innings of the Cardinals' 4-1 defeat of the Padres.

He'd lost five of six decisions heading into that start, a main reason why the Cardinals have plummeted from leading the National League's Central Division in August to facing a 7 1/2-game deficit as the season enters its final 10 games.

The first-place Cincinnati Reds have a magic number of 3 to clinch the division outright. The Reds open a series tonight in San Diego.

Wainwright, a former reliever, is 5-4 lifetime against the Cubs with a 4.26 earned run average in 22 games, including 13 starts.

For Chicago, lefty Tom Gorzelanny returns to the mound for the first time since he was hit with a line drive on the left hand during a Sept. 1 start against Pittsburgh.

Gorzelanny suffered a hairline fracture of his left pinky finger and was sidelined largely because of the swelling the injury caused.

The 28-year-old was 1-3 in five August starts prior to the time off, defeating Atlanta with seven innings of one-run ball while losing to Cincinnati, San Diego and the Reds.

He defeated St. Louis, 6-5, on July 24 and is 2-3 lifetime against the Cardinals in seven starts with a 3.92 ERA.

On Thursday in Pittsburgh, Albert Pujols hit two home runs as St. Louis took a 9-2 win to avoid a three-game sweep at PNC Park.

Pujols finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored while Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a 2-for-3 effort. Holliday drove in one, walked once and scored twice for the Cardinals, who had dropped the first two games of the set and four of five overall.

Jeff Suppan (2-7) went five innings to get the win, as he gave up just one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

In Chicago, Juan Uribe hit a pair of home runs in one inning, including a grand slam during a nine-run second, as San Francisco used a 19-hit attack to dominate the Cubs, 13-0.

Ryan Dempster (14-11), who hadn't surrendered a run over his previous two trips to the mound, gave up nine runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings for the Cubs, who had won seven of eight coming in.

The Cubs have won eight of 12 versus the Cardinals this year, with the clubs splitting six games so far in Chicago.