Jake Westbrook's return from the disabled list caused a problem. But for the Cardinals, it was a good one to have. They needed to clear room for Westbrook by pulling a starter from one of the best rotations in baseball. The most likely candidates were rookies Tyler Lyons and Michael Wacha.
And the latter became the odd man out as the 21-year-old right-hander was sent back to Triple-A Memphis to prepare for what is sure to be a more permanent stint in the Majors down the road, leaving Lyons as the starter for Sunday's series finale with the Marlins.
"It gives me some confidence that they think I can continue to give them a chance to win," Lyons said. "That's what I'm going to continue trying to do."
While not as highly touted a prospect as Wacha, Lyons is 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA through four starts, and the 25-year-old is the only lefty in the Cardinals' rotation. He has surrendered 20 hits, walked five and struck out 14 in 25 2/3 innings.
"It's gone by fast. I'm just trying to make the most of it and enjoy it," Lyons said of his first year in the Major Leagues. "It's something you work towards for a long time. It's been great. I am always trying to learn as much as I possibly can while I am here."
Lyons will have to contend with a resurgent Juan Pierre, whose leadoff triple Saturday extended his hitting streak to a season-best 11 games and marked his 17th career hit streak of 11 or more games. Through the first 10 games of the streak, Pierre was batting .381 (16-for-42) with eight runs scored and three extra-base hits. Saturday's triple was his fourth during the streak.
"It's just the work, man," Pierre said. "Just the same thing with [hitting coach] Tino [Martinez] every day in the cage, going out early for early hitting. It's a matter of just being relaxed and finding holes. Sometimes the game is like that."
The hitting streak has raised Pierre's average from .218 to .250, and many of Pierre's runs have been critical scores for a Marlins club with the worst record in the Majors. He has scored the fourth run in each of Miami's 5-4 wins during this homestand.
"Some close games, like those one-run games, I know if I can get on, I'm going to make a difference in those kinds of games," Pierre said. "And having not been able to do that the first two months of the year, it gets frustrating. Unfortunately, I've been in this situation before throughout my career, so I knew not to panic and just continue to do the work."
Marlins: Nolasco looking to rebound vs. Cardinals
Ricky Nolasco's streak of four straight quality starts ended Monday, when he surrendered four runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings of the Marlins' 6-1 loss to the Brewers.
Nolasco had lowered his ERA from 4.39 to 3.61 during the stretch, but his misstep against Milwaukee pushed him back to 3.80.
Nolasco, who will be looking to get back on track against the Cardinals on Sunday, is 3-7 on the season and is 1-4 with a 4.59 ERA over his career against St. Louis.
Cardinals: Carpenter expected back in lineup
After a much-deserved day off, Matt Carpenter is expected back in the lineup for Sunday's series finale.
In his second season as a full-time starter, the Cardinals second baseman is leading the National League with 27 multi-hit games this season and is second on the team in batting average at .324.
"It's a combination of playing every day and having another year of experience under your belt," Carpenter said. "That experience helps you make adjustments you need, but getting the opportunity to play every day is definitely a big part of it."
• Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo left the team after batting practice Friday and is now on the restricted list. Jordan Brown was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to fill the roster spot. Olivo has been upset by a lack of playing time.
• Miami first baseman Logan Morrison was left out of the lineup for the third straight game on Saturday. He experienced back tightness during batting practice Friday.
• Chris Coghlan is traveling to Dallas on Sunday to meet with a specialist Monday regarding the specifics of his calf pain. An MRI exam on Monday revealed a back strain.
• While his 20-game hit streak came to an end Wednesday, David Freese is still finding success at the plate. Freese followed up his RBI double on Friday with a 3-for-4 performance, including a solo blast, on Saturday.
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.