for this game

Mets-Cardinals Preview

Jul 19, 2015 - 5:09 AM The St. Louis Cardinals have been feast or famine against the New York Mets.

Coming off one of their biggest offensive performances of the season, the Cardinals look to complete a sweep of this three-game series Sunday.

St. Louis (58-33) has won four of six meetings with New York (47-44) this year, outscoring the Mets 34-6 while hitting .342 in those victories compared to a .139 average with one run in the defeats.

The Cardinals won for the 16th time in the last 21 home meetings with New York on Saturday, pounding out 15 hits and matching a season high for runs in a 12-2 victory. Jason Heyward tied his personal best with five hits and had two RBIs before leaving after a single in the eighth.

"I was cramping all over," said Heyward, who is 7 for 8 in this series. "I haven't been feeling well the last few days."

His health isn't a concern, according to manager Mike Matheny. Heyward is 10 for 20 with four RBIs in five games against the Mets this season and he's batting .350 over his last 19 matchups.

Randal Grichuk went 3 for 3 with a pair of homers and a career-high six RBIs Saturday. He's 8 for 24 with two homers, three doubles, two triples and 10 RBIs in six games against New York.

St. Louis will try to win a fifth straight home game and again get the best of New York's Jonathon Niese (5-8, 3.61 ERA), who surrendered eight runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings of a 10-2 loss to the Cardinals on May 19.

He was 4-2 with a 2.27 ERA in seven previous starts against them.

The left-hander has been very good lately, recording seven consecutive quality starts while going 2-3 with a 2.64 ERA. He allowed three runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 5-3 win over Arizona last Sunday.

He's been roughed up by a number of Cardinals, however, including Heyward who is 9 for 28 with two homers while Mark Reynolds has two of his own with a .500 average (6 for 12).

Yadier Molina and Jhonny Peralta have hit Niese hard, combining to go 12 for 30.

The Cardinals are keeping Tim Cooney (0-0, 4.34) in the rotation in place of injured Jaime Garcia (groin), who could be back before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Cooney has a 3.31 ERA in three starts since replacing Garcia. The rookie left-hander allowed three runs with five strikeouts in five innings of a 6-5 loss in 10 at Pittsburgh last Sunday.

He's facing a Mets' team that's last in the majors with a .234 average and is 2 for 36 (.056) in its last six games with runners in scoring position.

Michael Cuddyer is dealing with a bone bruise in his left knee but he was a bright spot with three hits Saturday, including a solo homer. He's 8 for 18 with two homers in his last five games after going 2 for 36 in the 12 prior.

"It's all got to start someplace, and I thought tonight was a very good night for him," manager Terry Collins told MLB's official website. "So we'll get him in there (Sunday) and see how he does."