Brewers-Cardinals Preview

The Associated Press

A matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers provided the St. Louis Cardinals just what they needed to break out of a slump.

Judging by how he's pitched so far this season, Kyle Lohse might not require too much support during Saturday's game at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis hit .211 with 21 runs scored during a 3-4 stretch before returning home Friday to face Milwaukee. The Cardinals (13-7) used an eight-run third to roll to a 13-1 win in the opener of a three-game series.

Matt Holliday and Jon Jay combined for six of their team's 15 hits, one shy of matching a season high. Jay, who returned to the lineup for the first time since April 21, and Skip Schumaker drove in three runs apiece.

St. Louis scored 20 runs while winning two of three in Milwaukee from April 6-8, but were shut out during the middle game of that set.

"We just go out there and have good at-bats," Jay said. "You just try and keep the line moving and that's why we've been able to do some things."

The Cardinals will try to keep things going in support of Lohse (3-0, 0.99 ERA), who has allowed one run or fewer in each of his four outings this season. The right-hander gave up one run over seven innings Sunday during a 5-1 victory in Pittsburgh.

"Man he's unreal," third baseman David Freese said. "I've heard other guys say that when he hits his spots, he's one of the toughest in the game to string some hits together. And he's showing it, for sure."

The Cardinals are 13-4 in their last 17 games against the Brewers (9-11), including a six-game victory in last year's NL championship series. Lohse, though, was the loser in Game 4 and is 1-5 with a 4.28 ERA in his last seven regular-season starts versus Milwaukee.

He earned that lone win by tossing six scoreless innings at Busch Stadium on Sept. 6.

The Brewers' Marco Estrada, meanwhile, couldn't earn a victory in his first start of the season last Saturday despite giving up a solo home run over five innings and striking out a career-high nine batters during a 9-4 win over Colorado.

"He did the same thing he did for us last year," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He put up a lot of innings with a lot of zeroes."

Estrada (0-0, 2.45), in the rotation because of a season-ending rotator cuff injury to Chris Narveson, made two relief appearances during the series earlier this month but has never started against the Cardinals.

Holliday has singled in both of his at-bats against the right-hander and catcher Yadier Molina, who will receive the platinum glove award Saturday after being voted the NL's best fielder, is 2 for 4.

The Brewers' Aramis Ramirez, 7 for 18 in his last five games, is 7 for 17 with three doubles and a home run lifetime against Lohse.

Milwaukee is seeking to avoid a sixth consecutive road defeat after starting 3-0 there this season. The Brewers endured a seven-game skid from April 30-May 6 last season that was capped by a 6-0 defeat at Busch Stadium.

Milwaukee has dropped three straight regular-season games in St. Louis, its longest skid since losing five in a row from July 28, 2007-April 16, 2008.

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