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Volquez out to close his first half on high note

MLB.com

After a solid June, the Marlins will look for Edinson Volquez to start July off on a strong note against Mike Leake and the Cardinals in the third game of their four-game series Wednesday at Busch Stadium. Both pitchers will take the mound in St. Louis for their last starts before the All-Star break.

Volquez (4-8, 3.97 ERA) is coming off quite a month, including his no-hitter against the D-backs on June 3, finishing 3-1 through six starts with his lowest average ERA in a month this season (3.28). The right-hander also held the Pirates scoreless through seven innings in a 7-1 Marlins win, but went through a rough stretch June 14 and 20, pitching less than five innings in each start and allowing four or more runs.

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After a solid June, the Marlins will look for Edinson Volquez to start July off on a strong note against Mike Leake and the Cardinals in the third game of their four-game series Wednesday at Busch Stadium. Both pitchers will take the mound in St. Louis for their last starts before the All-Star break.

Volquez (4-8, 3.97 ERA) is coming off quite a month, including his no-hitter against the D-backs on June 3, finishing 3-1 through six starts with his lowest average ERA in a month this season (3.28). The right-hander also held the Pirates scoreless through seven innings in a 7-1 Marlins win, but went through a rough stretch June 14 and 20, pitching less than five innings in each start and allowing four or more runs.

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He is coming into the meeting with the Cardinals on a strong note, however, giving up just three hits and one run to the Brewers through six, in a 3-2 Marlins loss. He had good command, only walking two after allowing 14 walks over his previous three starts. He ranks second in the National League in walks (51).

Leake (6-6, 2.97 ERA) is coming off a dominant performance against the Nationals, in which he pitched eight innings, allowing five hits and just one run. In the Cardinals' 8-1 win, he walked three, which tied his season high, and struck out four.

The right-hander has given up nine home runs at home this year and leads NL pitchers with a 0.76 HR/nine IP rate. His ERA ranks fifth in NL and is tied for fourth with a 1.08 WHIP.

Three things to know about this game

• Jedd Gyorko was not in the starting lineup Tuesday after exiting Monday's game early with a left groin tweak. He was removed in the fifth inning, which he described as more of a precaution. He hopes to rejoin the lineup Wednesday.

• Ichiro Suzuki has 3,051 career hits -- just two away from tying Hall of Famer Rod Carew for 24th on the all-time list.

• On Monday, the Cardinals started a stretch of 14 consecutive games against sub-.500 teams (Marlins, Mets, Pirates and Mets again). With Tuesday's loss, they are 23-16 against teams below .500.

Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins, Mike Leake, Edinson Volquez