(Sports Network) - Although coming off a loss, the St. Louis Cardinals are
still one of the hottest teams in the major leagues.
The National League Central-leading Cardinals get back to work Friday in the
opener of a three-game series versus the rival Milwaukee Brewers at Busch
Stadium. St. Louis was in line for a rare four-game sweep of the New York
Mets, but dropped a 5-2 decision in Thursday's series finale.
Adam Wainwright had a tough outing and was saddled with the loss for giving up
four runs -- three earned -- and six hits in six innings. He did manage to
strike out eight batters and issued only one walk.
"He was fighting from the beginning," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of
Wainwright. "He was pretty good, but you could see he was laboring."
Carlos Beltran led the offense as usual with three hits and an RBI and Pete
Kozma drove in a run for the Cardinals, who have still won 12 of their last 15
contests and are 5-2 on a 10-game homestand. Beltran is batting .345 with four
homers, 10 RBI and 19 hits in his last 13 games. His on-base percentage in
that time is .368 and slugging is at .600.
Jaime Garcia wasn't so sharp in his last start and he is set to redeem himself
for St. Louis this evening. Garcia was pounded for a season-high five earned
runs and eight hits in six innings of an 8-2 loss to Colorado on Sunday and
his record fell to 4-2 in eight starts. His ERA also went from 2.25 to 2.88.
Garcia had to follow brilliant performances by Shelby Miller and Adam
Wainwright, as the two hurlers held the Rockies scoreless in consecutive
complete game efforts.
"Those were definitely pretty tough acts to follow," Matheny said of Garcia's
circumstances. "But lately, we've been running up against guys that are
throwing the ball well."
Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa countered Garcia and shut the Cardinals'
offense down with seven K's over seven shutout frames.
Garcia, who had a personal three-game winning streak stopped, will face
Milwaukee for the third time this season and is 1-0 in the first two starts.
In a 10-1 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park on May 5, the lefty was
charged with only one run in eight innings. Garcia is 5-3 with a 2.75 ERA in
12 games (11 starts) against Milwaukee.
May hasn't been a giving month for the Brewers and neither has this 10-game
road trip (1-6). After getting swept in three games at Cincinnati, the Brewers
lost three of four at Pittsburgh, including Thursday's 7-1 loss.
Jonathan Lucroy had the team's only RBI and Jean Segura finished with two of
the club's six hits and scored a run. Milwaukee has scored just five runs in
the last five games and is 0-13 when scoring no more than three runs.
"When you're not scoring runs, it's hard to get motivated," said Brewers
manager Ron Roenicke. "We need to grind out some runs."
Hiram Burgos was dealt the loss for giving up three runs and eight hits in
five innings. It was a far cry from his last outing in which Burgos was picked
apart for 12 runs -- 10 earned -- and 11 hits in three innings of a 13-7
setback against the Reds.
"The last game, I just put it away," Burgos said after Thursday's game. "Today
was a new game. I just went out there, trying to get people out and make my
pitches. The outcome wasn't what I was wanting, or what the team was wanting,
but that's part of the game."
The Brewers have lost 12 of 14 games and will turn to Wily Peralta in Friday's
series opener. Peralta has lost two of three starts since going 2-0 in his
previous four trips to the hill with Milwaukee 3-1 in that stretch. Peralta
didn't have his best stuff in Sunday's 5-1 loss at Cincinnati and was reached
for four runs, three of which were earned, in six innings.
Peralta, a right-hander, dropped to 3-3 in eight starts and has a 5.40 earned
run average. The Dominican has given up three earned runs or more five times
this season. He faced the Cardinals for the first time in his career on May 2
in a 6-5 loss and allowed six runs and 11 hits over 4 1/3 innings.
St. Louis has owned the Brewers this season to the tune of a 6-1 mark. The
Cardinals have won four in a row and 10 of the past 13 matchups between the NL
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