MLB: Cardinals, Brewers continue battle atop NL Central
In what is currently a two-team race in the NL Central, the visiting St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers are back to even across the board as they head into the third game of a four-game showdown Wednesday.
Right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-5, 3.06 ERA) gets the nod for the Cardinals, while left-hander Eric Lauer (6-2, 3.57 ERA) starts for Milwaukee.
Nolan Gorman hit a pair of solo homers and drove in four runs to lift St. Louis past Milwaukee 6-2 on Tuesday night, pulling the Cardinals into a tie with the Brewers atop the division.
The Cardinals’ bullpen covered six scoreless innings in relief of Jack Flaherty, who allowed two runs on three hits, with five walks in three innings in his second start back off the injured list. Willy Adames accounted for Milwaukee’s runs with a two-run homer in the first.
The inability to take advantage of opportunities against Flaherty was indicative of the Brewers’ inconsistent offense. Milwaukee is 8-23 when scoring three runs or fewer.
“It felt like we had Flaherty on the ropes a little bit, kind of every inning, and the next hit just never happened,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I thought that was really kind of the key points in the game. We just didn’t get that next hit when we had a shot.”
The Cardinals’ victory also evened the series at a game apiece and the season series at 5-5. Milwaukee took the series opener 2-0 behind seven scoreless innings from Corbin Burnes. St. Louis has been shut out five times this season but won the following game each time.
After going 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA in five starts in May, Lauer is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts in June, giving up three homers in each of his last two outings. Lauer got the win his last time out, allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-4 victory at Cincinnati.
“Eric’s pitch count was in a great spot, he gave up some homers unfortunately, again and that’s what’s kind of bit him lately is the home runs,” Counsell said after Lauer’s last start.
Lauer is 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in five career appearances against the Cardinals, including four starts. He picked up the win against St. Louis on May 26, allowing two runs on four hits in five innings while besting Wainwright.
Wainwright has 20 career victories against the Brewers but is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against them this season.
“It’s a head-scratcher,” Wainwright said after his last outing against Milwaukee. “I’ve got great career numbers off that team over there but the last few times they’ve made me work really hard.”
He is 9-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 24 games, including 20 starts, at Milwaukee.
Wainwright lost his last start, 6-5 at Boston on Friday, giving up four runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media