ST. LOUIS -- For the second consecutive game, the St. Louis Cardinals didn't get their first hit until the bottom of the sixth inning.
And for the second straight game, the Cardinals bunched their scoring into the late innings to stay a game ahead in the National League Central.
Tallying four runs in the bottom of the eighth, St. Louis took a 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.
Trevor Rosenthal (2-3) worked a scoreless inning for the win, while Brandon Kintzler (3-2) drew the loss after yielding the first three runs in the Cardinals' big inning.
Carlos Beltran's one-out sacrifice fly with the bases loaded scored Matt Carpenter with the tiebreaking run. A throwing error by catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who was trying to pick Matt Holliday off first as Jon Jay stole third, plated Jay to make it 3-1. Matt Adams lined a two-run homer to right-center, capping the outburst.
St. Louis (85-60) stayed a game ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates and three games up on the Cincinnati Reds. It was the Cardinals' fifth straight win.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada didn't yield a hit until Carpenter lined an infield single off Estrada's right foot with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. The right-hander left with two outs in the seventh after walking David Freese to push Holliday to second, and Daniel Descalso promptly singled off Kintzler to score the tying run.
Milwaukee (62-82) grabbed the lead in the top of the second with speed and a St. Louis mistake. Carlos Gomez singled, Scooter Gennett walked, and they stole third and second, respectively. Tony Cruz's throw in an attempt to catch Gennett bounced past shortstop Daniel Descalso for an error that allowed Gomez to score.
The Cardinals then got a bad break in their half of the second. With Carlos Beltran on first after a leadoff walk, Matt Adams' liner appeared to hit the foul line below the pole for what should have been a single that moved Beltran to third.
However, first base umpire Chris Guccione ruled it a foul ball, a call that stood despite arguments from St. Louis manager Mike Matheny and a crew meeting. Adams walked after resuming the at-bat, but David Freese grounded into a double play and Descalso lined out to center.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn gave up one unearned run on five hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out 10.
NOTES: St. Louis C Yadier Molina and his brother, assistant hitting coach Bengie Molina, weren't at the ballpark Wednesday due to what was called a "family situation." The team offered no specifics and gave no assurances that either would be back for Thursday night's game ... Gennett, who went 2-for-3, leads the majors in batting average since being called up on Aug. 9, the day Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks went on the disabled list. Gennett is hitting .402 (39-for-97) during the month-long surge.