Cardinals-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

The St. Louis Cardinals are finding Miller Park's dimensions very much to their liking.

That doesn't bode well for Milwaukee right-hander Marco Estrada.

The Cardinals will try to continue their power surge and complete a four-game sweep of the Brewers on Sunday.

Jon Jay homered for the first time since April 10 and drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, while Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso each hit their first homers to lead St. Louis to a 7-6 win Saturday.

"That's probably the first time that's happened,'' Jay said of the home runs from the three of them.

After totaling two homers over their previous six contests, the NL Central-leading Cardinals (19-11) have hit five in their last two while extending their winning streak to a season-high five games.

St. Louis, which ranks near the bottom third of the majors with 26 home runs, has hit two or more in back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Now the Cardinals look to carry over that momentum against Estrada (2-1, 4.58 ERA) as they seek their longest winning streak since an eight-game run from July 11-21, 2010.

Estrada has had trouble keeping the ball in the park, surrendering 10 total home runs and allowing at least one in each of his six starts. He's allowed 2.55 homers per nine innings, the worst ratio in the majors.

Estrada surrendered a season-high three homers while giving up five runs in five innings, but left without a decision in a 12-8 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

He's 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals after allowing three runs - including a Matt Adams homer - over six innings in a 4-3, 10-inning win at St. Louis on April 14.

Yadier Molina is 7 for 13 with a homer against Estrada, while Carlos Beltran has homered for his only hit in eight career at-bats in this matchup.

Estrada, though, is tied for the team lead with four quality starts and the Brewers (14-15) have won four of his last five outings.

Milwaukee faces another tough test against left-hander Jaime Garcia (3-1, 2.50) as it tries to avoid matching a season-worst five-game skid.

Garcia handcuffed the Brewers on April 14, scattering seven hits over seven shutout innings before Milwaukee rallied late for the win.

He seeks his third straight winning start after yielding one run on seven hits over eight innings in a 2-1 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday. Garcia recorded 18 groundball outs, utilizing a St. Louis defense that ranks near the top of the NL with a .988 fielding percentage.

"With the defense we have, you want to make them hit the ball on the ground,'' Garcia said. "I'm confident that they'll make the plays.''

Garcia, however, hasn't had fared too well in five career starts - including a loss in the 2011 postseason - at Miller Park, where's he's 2-2 with a 6.84 ERA.

Ryan Braun is hitting .355 with 18 homers and 45 RBIs off left-handers over the past two seasons, but has batted .188 with one homer in 32 career at-bats against Garcia.

Carlos Gomez went 2 for 4 with a homer Saturday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He's hitting .488 with four homers and seven RBIs during that span and is batting an NL-best .373.

The Cardinals have never swept a four-game series from the Brewers.

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