The Chicago Cubs (15-20) and St. Louis Cardinals (20-15) will continue a National League Central series on Tuesday afternoon at Busch Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:45 ET

Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals  

Chicago Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano has enjoyed great success against Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse in his career

Chicago captured a 6-4 victory on Monday night and has now won 12 of 21 games since starting the 2012 campaign with a 3-11 mark.  The Cubs finished the game with 14 hits, but also managed to strand a season-high 14 runners on base.  Outfielder Alfonso Soriano figures to be a good guy to have at the plate this afternoon, going 17 for 44 (.386) in his career against today’s scheduled opposing starter.  Chicago is 9-12 in day games, with the “under” going 11-10 in that situation.

Cubs starting pitcher Paul Maholm (4-2, 4.05 ERA) will be looking for his fifth consecutive victory, coming off a 1-0 home win over the Atlanta Braves last time out, tossing seven shutout innings and allowing just three hits in that effort.  The left-hander has tallied an even 1-1 mark and 6.10 ERA in two road outings, managing to strike out just three batters in 10.1 frames.  In 16 career starts versus the Cardinals, Maholm has registered a losing 4-7 record and 4.13 ERA, including a 10-3 setback at this ball park on April 15.  He allowed a season high-tying six runs and six hits over four innings in that outing.

St. Louis has lost its last four games and hopes that outfielder Carlos Beltran can return to the lineup, as he was relegated to pinch-hitting duties in the series-opening loss.  He has managed to hit .390 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs over his previous 12 games.   Shortstop Rafael Furcal has also been special at the top of the lineup, coming into last night’s game leading all NL leadoff batters with a .383 batting average and 25 runs scored.  St. Louis is 10-14 as a home favorite of -175 to -200 the last two-plus seasons.

Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse (5-1, 2.08 ERA) has led the club to six wins in seven starts, coming off a 7-2 road win over the Arizona Diamondbacks last time out, giving up a single run and seven hits over five frames.  The right-hander will be making just his third appearance at home, posting a 1-0 record and 2.08 ERA, as opponents are hitting just .222 against him.  In 13 career outings versus the Cubs, Lohse has compiled a 2-4 record and 5.48 ERA, including a 1-0 mark and 2.55 ERA in three starts a year ago.

Bettors will likely back the Cardinals due to their 7-1 record in Lohse’s last eight starts, while the Cubs are 7-16 as a road underdog.

Pick: St. Louis Cardinals -180

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