The St. Louis Cardinals will continue their search for starting pitching Friday when they call on rookie Andre Pallante to face the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals carry a three-game losing streak into the opener of a three-game home series at Busch Stadium while the Reds have lost five of their last seven games.

Pallante (1-0, 1.23 ERA) made his first start of the season against the Chicago Cubs during a June 4 doubleheader and allowed one run in four innings. Prior to that, he had made 17 relief appearances this season and posted a 1.07 ERA.

With the Cardinals missing starting pitchers Jordan Hicks (forearm strain), Steven Matz (shoulder impingement) and Jack Flaherty (shoulder bursitis), Pallante will get a second chance to start.

“He studies the game and he’s a little baseball rat,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “As far as the moment, a big stadium or a packed house — not only does it not bother him — he doesn’t care.”

Pallante allowed four hits and four walks against the Cubs, but he minimized the damage by inducing two double-play grounders.

“My fastball kind of does whatever it wants,” Pallante said. “I just grip a fastball, four-seam grip, and sometimes it cuts, sometimes it sinks. Definitely, that’s why it’s a high ground-ball rate. Got a lot of depth to it. That’s something I know I have, and the team knows I have it.”

In his one appearance against the Reds this season, he retired four batters while allowing one hit and no runs.

Pallante will be backed by a rested bullpen, since Miles Mikolas pitched an eight-inning complete game Thursday in the Cardinals’ 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Reds will counter with Luis Castillo (2-3, 3.55), who suffered a 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals in his last start.

“The changeup wasn’t working as well as we wanted it to go,” Castillo said. “But we kept battling throughout the game as much as possible to try to get a better outing.”

Castillo has a 2.70 ERA in his last four starts. This will be Castillo’s first start against the Cardinals this season. He is 6-7 with a 4.41 ERA in 17 career starts against them.

The Reds come into this series with multiple injury issues. Catcher Tyler Stephenson will be sidelined for four to six weeks after suffering a fractured thumb Thursday.

“It’s tough losing any of our players,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Certainly Tyler Stephenson is just a big part of our team in so many ways. He’ll be back this season for hopefully half of the season, and he’s got many years ahead. But at this time, right now, it’s tough. I know how much he loves to play.”

Outfielder Albert Almora Jr. left Thursday’s game with a shoulder injury and is day to day. The Reds were already missing infielder Jonathan India (hamstring strain) and outfielder Tyler Naquin (quad strain), among others.

Outfielder Nick Senzel (back soreness) could return to the lineup and infielder Max Schrock (calf strain) could return from his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Louisville.

The Cardinals expect outfielder Dylan Carlson (hamstring tear) back for this series. He has been on a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Memphis.

–Field Level Media