MILWAUKEE — Already guilty of the being the team that was the opponent when the Cincinnati Reds awoke and started a winning streak that has brought them into the playoff race, the Cardinals could leave Milwaukee guilty of being the spark for another rival’s offense.
A few hours after Adam Wainwright threw a complete-game victory to right the Cardinals after a difficult Tuesday night, the Brewers thundered their way to a series victory.
Ryan Braun hit his 350th career homer in the first inning and No. 9 hitter Jacob Nottingham added a two-run homer later as Milwaukee won the second game, 6-0, on Wednesday at Miller Park. The Cardinals edged Milwaukee, 4-2, in Game 1.
The Brewers took three of five in the series, nuzzling up to the Cardinals in the standings. The Reds leaped into second place in the National League Central with their five-game winning streak and the Cardinals’ loss.
All three teams, however, have losing records.
The Cardinals struggled in Game 2 against the different looks the Brewers threw at them in a game carved up between four pitchers. Lefty Brent Suter gave the Cardinals their early chances with a walk sprinkled into the first two innings and the leadoff hitter on base in the second and third inning. The Cardinals do much with any of the opportunities.
A groundout and a flyout got Rangel Ravelo as far as third base in the second inning but no farther as the inning ended.
Into the game came right-hander Freddy Peralta, and he struck out the side in order in the fifth inning to bring the game to St. Louis native Devin Williams. The rookie with one of the game’s best change-ups retired the Cardinals in order, sweeping through the middle of the order without much resistance. He struck out two.
Johan Oviedo pitched into the sixth inning despite allowing four runs in the first inning. Oviedo started in trouble when he hit the first batter of the game with the first pitch. He walked the next batter, and then Braun hit his three-run homer for a lead the Brewers would never have threatened. Oviedo hit three batters, but also got a key double play and did his best to minimize the damage while maximizing the rest the bullpen would get for the doubleheader.
The Cardinals start a five-game, four-day series in Pittsburgh on Thursday. They’ll have another doubleheader — their third of the week — on Friday.
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