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STL@CHC: Lynn strikes out seven in eight innings

So far the Cardinals' Lance Lynn has been perfect, and the right-hander will be looking to stay that way when he starts on Wednesday against the Pirates.

Lynn has been one of the season's biggest surprises. After taking the spot in St. Louis' rotation vacated by the injured Chris Carpenter, he's won all four of the games he's started, posting a 1.33 ERA and allowing just four runs in 27 innings.

The loss of an All-Star pitcher for the second year in a row hasn't slowed the Cardinals, and Lynn has been a big part of their success. The team is in first place in the National League Central and is either at or near the top in several offensive and pitching categories.

"We're happy about the way we're playing," said third baseman David Freese, who hit a three-run homer in Tuesday's win. "I think we had an amazing month. I think with everything that's put on our shoulders [going] into Spring Training, I think we've done a heck of a job."

Wednesday will be Lynn's second start against the Pirates this season. On April 20 he threw seven innings and allowed just one run in a win. It will also be his second start of 2012 at Busch Stadium, the site of his shortest outing of the year. Lynn went just 5 1/3 innings on April 14 against the Cubs, but it was a win nonetheless.

Lynn knows that his opportunity to shine has come from an injury to another player, and whether the future holds a full-time starting job for him or a different role, he is ready to help.

"I look at it as a chance to show them that I can pitch here no matter what," Lynn said. "I'm just trying to help the team win in any way. If they see me as a guy that can help the team, that's going to be good for me, because I'm going to be able to pitch and will be able to be successful."

Opposing Lynn will be A.J. Burnett, making his third start of the season. Burnett shut down the Cardinals in his 2012 debut, allowing no runs over seven innings. Burnett's return to the NL is going well, as he has an ERA of 1.38.

Pirates: Hurlers stingy in April
Pittsburgh pitchers combined for an ERA of 2.78 for April, marking the first time a Pirates staff has been below 3.00 in the first month of the season since 1992. That's also the last year the Pirates won a division championship.

• In 25 career games against the Cardinals, Jose Tabata has only gone hitless twice. He is batting .340 in his career against St. Louis after going 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs on Tuesday night.

Cardinals: Matheny pleased with April
First-year manager Mike Matheny has his team in first place after the season's first month, and overall, he's been happy with his team's effort.

"[I'm] very proud of how they've played the game and how they showed up every day," Matheny said. "They had some guys not feeling 100 percent but pushing through. Overall, you can't be any more pleased with the pitching than we are. Looking back, it was a good month."

Worth noting
• Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal has had success off Burnett, hitting .324 against him in 40 plate appearances, with four walks.

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