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Ludwick aims to keep good thing going

Ludwick aims to keep good thing going

ST. LOUIS -- Now in the 11th season of his professional career, Ryan Ludwick knows not to sweat a slump. Still, he's glad to see them end.

It appears that's happening now. Ludwick looks like he's pulled out of a 10-game funk that saw his numbers dip in the last half of April. He homered for the second time in four games on Tuesday and added an RBI single for good measure.

He'll try to extend his modest run on Wednesday night when the Cardinals host the Pirates at Busch Stadium. Ludwick opened the season with a fine series against the Bucs. He's also 4-for-12 with a home run in his career against Pittsburgh starter Zach Duke.

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A big night would be especially beneficial since the Redbirds are trying to snap their first three-game losing streak of the year.

"We've got the Pirates coming in, and now you've got to turn the page and get ready for the next series and try to get back on a winning track," Ludwick said.

Ludwick was utterly torrid for the first 10 games of the season, batting .404 with an .833 slugging percentage and five home runs in that span. Then he faded, going 5-for-32 (.156) over his ensuing 10 games.

Now he may have sorted things out again.

"That's baseball," he said. "I wish I could be like that guy over there [Albert Pujols] and never have one, but you've got to understand that's going to happen.

"I just try to come to the field every day with a new attitude and keep fighting. You're going to have bad days. Sometimes you're going to have multiple bad days, quadruple bad days. Sometimes they may even last two weeks, but that doesn't mean you give up."

Pitching matchup
STL: RHP Mitchell Boggs (1-0, 3.29 ERA)
Just two starts into his 2009 Cardinals campaign, the rookie right-hander is already making a mighty big impression. After coming up from Triple-A Memphis on April 15 after former Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter went on the disabled list, Boggs made his first start against the Cubs on April 26, allowing one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings and getting the nod from manager Tony La Russa to make at least one more start. He closed out the team's 16-7 April by striking out a career-high nine over six innings in an April 30 no-decision against Washington in an outing La Russa termed "outstanding."

PIT: LHP Zach Duke (3-2, 2.21 ERA)
Duke has now made five starts in 2009 and four of them have been absolutely outstanding. Throw out the six-run outing against Atlanta on April 19 and the left-hander has given up just three earned runs over 30 2/3 innings in those four starts. That's an ERA of 0.88. Duke made three starts against the Brewers in 2008, losing one and finishing with a 5.87 ERA as he allowed 20 hits over 15 1/3 innings. This will be his 13th career start against Milwaukee and he'll look to improve on his 4.70 ERA against the NL Central rivals.

Tidbits
Khalil Greene is expected to return to the lineup for St. Louis on Wednesday after missing more than a week due to discomfort in his right forearm. ... Pujols is 11-for-25 (.440) against Duke. ... All seven of Ludwick's home runs have come against right-handed pitchers. ... Chris Duncan is hitting .182 at home (.390 on the road). ... Colby Rasmus is batting .313 and slugging .500 since April 22.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-M HD

On radio
• KTRS 550

Up next
• Thursday: Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 2-2, 5.28) vs. Pirates (Ross Ohlendorf, 3-2, 3.48), 12:40 p.m. CT
• Friday: Cardinals (Joel Pineiro, 4-1, 3.24) at Reds (Johnny Cueto, 2-1, 1.65), 6:10 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Cardinals (Kyle Lohse, 3-1, 3.22) at Reds (Aaron Harang, 2-3, 3.00), 6:10 p.m. CT

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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