MILWAUKEE -- Monday was a small-ball day, Tuesday was a disappointment but this was a good day on all accounts for the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Brewers, 8-6, Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee.
Behind home runs by Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig, the Cardinals jumped on Milwuakee left-hander Tom Gorzelanny for six runs in the second inning -- which also included a two-run, bases-loaded double by starting pitcher Jake Westbrook.
In all, the Cardinals belted out 14 hits, but managed to score just one run over the final 5 1/3 innings, leaving it up to the bullpen to clamp down and help St. Louis keep the pressure on first-place Pittsburgh.
"It was a big win," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Those are the ones you got to find a way to win. When you put that kind of offensive production up early... but that team kept coming."
Gorzelanny lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs on 10 hits and a walk with five strikeouts. In his last two starts, Gorzelanny has allowed 12 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings of work.
"[I haven't been] making good pitches," Gorzelanny said. "[I've been] making mistakes.
"You make mistakes and you pay for them, especially against good-hitting teams."
Despite the deep hole Gorzelanny dug, Milwaukee chipped away at the deficit with big innings against Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook in the third and fifth.
Jean Segura reached on an error to open the third and moved to second on Jonathan Lucroy's base hit before Aramis Ramirez made it 3-0 with his seventh home run of the season.
Westbrook recovered and erased Khris Davis' single with a double play on Juan Francisco before retiring Sean Halton to end the inning.
Westbrook retired the Brewers in order in the fourth and had put the first two away in the fifth before Ramirez singled. The Brewers added three more base hits, cutting the Cardinals' lead to two on Halton's single to right field brought an end to Westbrook's day.
"Getting two quick outs in the fifth and not being able to finish it off is pretty frustrating for me," Westbrook said. "But the bullpen came in and picked me up and finished it off."
Kevin Siegrist (2-1) came on and loaded the bases by walking Logan Schafer but Jeff Bianchi, hitting for the pitcher, struck out, ending the inning.
"It's a matchup," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who also had Yuniesky Betancourt on deck. "I tried to figure out which one of the two hits lefties better -- not just lefties, but velocity on that lefty. He was basically 95 and hitting 96. We tried to figure out who best fit that spot in that situation and it depends on what happens the at-bat before that and what we think we need."
Still, as close as the Brewers got, they couldn't get the big hit that would have changed the game and at the end of the day, were 3-for-14 with runners and scoring position and left 14 runners stranded.
"In the pivotal game of the series, it's tough when you're a big hit away," said Sean Halton, who went 1-for-4 and was optioned to Triple-A Nashville after the game. "We battled back and hopefully we can get some of that offensive momentum to carry into tomorrow."
The Brewers' bullpen did its part to keep the game in question, holding the Cardinals scoreless until Jim Henderson allowed a solo home run to Matt Holliday in the ninth inning.
Edward Mujica allowed a solo home run to Logan Schafer and a two-out double to Yuniesky Betancourt in the ninth, but retired Scooter Gennett and Jean Segura for his 33rd save of the season.
NOTES: Cardinals C Yadier Molina made his fifth consecutive start Wednesday and has played in six of seven games since returning from the disabled list last Thursday. "He's going to get a day off when he needs a day off," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. Molina is 10-for-22 with five doubles and two home runs since returning but went 0-for-4 Wednesday. ... OF Carlos Gomez took part in batting practice and ran the bases Wednesday. He, too, should be back Friday after missing a week due to a sprained right knee. ... RHP Rob Wooten will rejoin the Brewers Friday in Cincinnati. Wooten was placed on the paternity test Wednesday so he could travel to North Carolina for the birth of his daughter. RHP Donovan Hand was recalled from Triple-A to fill Wooten's spot and then optioned to Nashville after the game along with first baseman Sean Halton.