• After an up-and-down 11-game road trip, the Cardinals return home Friday to begin a six-game homestand with a weekend series against the Pirates. Shelby Miller will take the ball on Friday night looking to crack a Pittsburgh lineup that has had his number in each of the right-hander's six career appearances against them.
Miller is 0-5 with a 5.93 ERA in five regular season starts against the Pirates and has given up nine home runs to Pittsburgh hitters, the most he's allowed to any lineup. In his only inning of action during last season's National League Division Series between the two clubs, Miller gave up a home run to Starling Marte in the eighth inning of St. Louis' 7-1 loss in Game 2.
His struggles with the long ball against the Cardinals' NL Central rivals continued in his first start this season. Pedro Alvarez homered twice, and Travis Ishikawa added a solo shot of his own to contribute to Miller's early exit in a 12-2 loss.
"I just gave up some home runs and didn't make the pitches I was supposed to make and ended up losing the game," Miller said of his April 4 outing. "At the end of the day, I just didn't take care of business."
• Molina's day off Thursday means the catcher will get the chance to extend his 14-game hitting streak on Friday in the series opener against the Pirates.
Eric Single is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.