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Dodgers-Cardinals preview

ST. LOUIS -- Tuesday night's rainout will sprout a major league debut on Sunday night.

In need of a sixth starter after a Wednesday day-night doubleheader forced their hand, the St. Louis Cardinals will call up 24-year-old right-hander Mike Mayers to work the rubber game of their weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Busch Stadium.

A third-round pick in the 2013 first-year player draft out of Ole Miss, the same program that produced St. Louis starter Lance Lynn, Mayers is 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis.

Earning a promotion after going 5-2 with a 2.30 ERA in nine starts at Springfield, Mayers pitched to a 2.94 ERA in nine starts at Memphis, particularly impressive considering how hitter-friendly the Pacific Coast League is.

"He's been throwing well," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Mayers. "He's had a nice season, and he's gone about it the right way."

Mayers' first MLB game is a potentially big one for the Cardinals (52-45), which had a five-game winning streak snapped by Los Angeles on Saturday night in a sloppy 7-2 loss. A win would cap the season's best homestand at 7-3 and give St. Louis momentum going into a 10-game road trip.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers (55-44) are looking to polish off a nine-game road trip with a winning mark. Their win Saturday night was a nice bounceback after a bitter 16-inning loss in Friday night's series opener that saw them use nine pitchers.

"That game was exactly what we needed after last night," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. "It was as scripted as we could have possibly hoped.

Kenta Maeda's 5 2/3-inning start wasn't as long as he wanted, but relievers Luis Avilan and Ross Stripling combined to work the last 10 outs with little opposition, enabling a tired bullpen to gain a bit of a breather.

Left-hander Scott Kazmir (8-3, 4.30 ERA) hopes to pick up his second win of the year over the Cardinals. On May 14, Kazmir came within an out of a complete game, settling for a 5-3 decision at Dodger Stadium.

Kazmir is coming off an excellent performance Tuesday night in an 8-4 win at Washington, where he cruised through seven innings. Kazmir gave up just four hits and a run, walked none and fanned eight in an efficient 88-pitch outing.

If the past week is any indication, Kazmir might have some runs to stuff into his back pocket. Los Angeles is averaging five runs per game this week and has outhit St. Louis 27-14 in this series.

Given that the Dodgers have no idea when All-Star left-hander Clayton Kershaw (back) is going to return from an injury that has sidelined him for nearly a month, they need the offense to continue their recent surge.

"I think we're trending in the right direction offensively," Roberts said. "It's nice to know you can win games when you're not playing your best. Our focus has been on the day to day, and if we can continue that, we're going to be OK."