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ARI@PIT: Bedard two-hits D-backs over seven frames

While the Cardinals understand the magnitude of their weekend series against the Pirates on the National League Central and Wild Card races, the team is doing its best to not overthink things.

"We really want these guys to be prepared to go out and try and play their best baseball. If you try and turn it up more for the Pirates then the Astros come up and bite you," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It doesn't make sense over the length of the season. Play the game, play it right, make the adjustments of what we did the night before. To put more energy into one particular game is really just not taking advantage, and I think it's a misuse of the opportunities you have right in front of you."

That is the mindset of St. Louis starter Lance Lynn, who will take the hill on Saturday at Busch Stadium.

"We want to win every game. You can't get too amped up or you're not ready for everybody," Lynn said. "Then a team comes in that you know you're supposed to beat, and then they'll beat you. We're ready to play every night, no matter who it is, and we're trying to win every game from here on out."

While Lynn didn't surrender any runs during the first inning of his last start against the Phillies -- a no-decision in five innings of work -- it has been a problem for him this season.

The right-hander has allowed 21 earned runs, seven home runs, 31 hits and 10 walks in 23 first innings this season. However, from the second inning on this season, he's given up only 35 runs, six home runs, 97 hits and 40 walks.

Meanwhile, left-hander Erik Bedard will get the nod for the Bucs, seeking his third straight win for the first time this season.

However, he could have a tough time doing that, with a road ERA of 6.75, which is more than four runs higher than his ERA at PNC Park.

In Pittsburgh last Sunday, Bedard got his seventh win of the season, allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings. He also struck out six and walked four.

"Early on, I wasn't really throwing strikes with my fastball," Bedard said after the contest. "Later on, I was throwing a lot of strikes with my curveball, so that's what helped me out to finish the game."

Pirates: Walker able to do some light work
• Two days after Neil Walker dislocated his finger in the infield dirt at PNC Park, the second baseman was back taking part in baseball activities on Friday.

"It's a little better than it was [Thursday]," Walker said. "Played a little catch and throw, which was good. The swelling is still there -- that will be important in this whole piece, getting the swelling out."

No timetable has been set for Walker's return, however it seems unlikely that he will be able to participate in the team's set against the Cards this weekend.

Cardinals: Berkman ready to begin rehab stint
• Lance Berkman is set to join Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday to begin a Minor League rehab assignment if the first baseman doesn't experience a setback before then.

Berkman is on the disabled list with soreness in his right knee, which was already operated on this year. That surgery cost Berkman nearly two months of the season, and, after a brief return to the Cardinals, Berkman has been back on the DL since Aug. 3.

Worth noting
• The Cardinals removed first baseman Mark Hamilton from the team's 40-man roster and granted him his unconditional release on Friday. The 76th-overall selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Hamilton hit .231 with a .340 on-base percentage, 12 doubles, 15 homers and 51 RBIs in 90 Triple-A games this season.

• Through 46 games, the Pirates hit 35 home runs -- none with more than one man on base. Since, they have clocked 27 three-run or Grand Slam homers, five more than any other team in the Majors.

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