MILWAUKEE -- Just like everyone else in baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers have become accustomed to watching the St. Louis Cardinals claw their way back into games.
And in case the Brewers had forgotten in the three months since last facing their NL Central rivals, they got a crash course Monday night when St. Louis rallied late for an 8-5 victory at Miller Park.
St. Louis took its fourth in a row over Milwaukee in typical fashion: the Cardinals used a patient but aggressive approach to string together five straight singles, erasing a 5-4 deficit and breaking the game open on David Freese's two-run pinch-hit double in the eighth inning.
"We keep seeing what goes on, how they approach things, come back and get runs," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We think we're in a good position with good pitchers coming in and the next thing you know, they get runs back."
Milwaukee had come back and taken the lead in the seventh on an RBI single by Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez's two-run home run to left.
Trying to get to closer Jim Henderson, Roenicke called on red-hot right-hander Brandon Kintzler, who had not allowed a run in his previous 17 appearances and was unscored upon in 23 of his last 24.
Kintzler got off to a good start. Yadier Malina opened with a single but was quickly retired when Jon Jay hit into a double play.
Kolton Wong followed with his second hit of the day -- an infield single that Kintzler and Roenicke disputed with home plate umpire Tim McClelland.
"That's what they brought me up here for, to get on base, so the guys behind me can drive me in," Wong said. "That's my goal. That's what I go up there every time trying to do."
With the tying run on, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sent Daniel Descalso to hit for Pete Kozma.
Descalso singled to left and another pinch-hitter, Matt Adams, followed with a base hit to center that scored Wong and tied the game, 5-5.
Matt Carpenter was next, making it 6-5 with a single to left before Carlos Beltran loaded the bases when his ground ball bounced off Ramirez's glove.
All five hits came from left-handers, who began the day hitting just .147 against Kintzler.
"That's how crazy this game is," Kintzler said. "You give up 11 hits to lefties all year and then you give up five.
"They had a good plan. Obviously, if [pitches] are a little down, they might be a ground ball. If they're a little up, they go through."
Burke Badenhop came on in relief of Kintzler, who was charged with two more when Freese doubled into the corner.
"They were relentless," Matheny said. "It started with some hustle, with Wong legging it out then guys having some big, big at-bats. That was very impressive to watch them do that."
Molina finished 4-for-5, and Beltran went 3-for-5 with a home run for the Cardinals, who collected 16 hits. Half of the hits came against Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada, who allowed four runs while walking four and striking out four in six innings.
Cardinals starter Shelby Miller went 5 1/3 innings and held Milwaukee to two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts.
"We're seeing some really good things out of Shelby, but there's always room to improve and things to learn," Matheny said.
Michael Wacha (2-0) got the victory despite giving up a two-run lead in the seventh on Jonathan Lucroy's RBI single and Ramirez's homer.
Edward Mujica put two on with two outs in the ninth, but he recovered and closed out his 32nd save of the season after missing the Cardinals' three-game series in Chicago last weekend due to shoulder fatigue.
Beltran's 21st home run of the season gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Milwaukee tied the game in the third on Lucroy's RBI single, but St. Louis went back ahead in the fourth when Molina's double drove home Craig.
Norichika Aoki homered to lead off the fifth, tying the game at 2, but Jay answered with a two-run homer in the sixth, giving the Cardinals a 4-2 lead.
NOTES: Brewers CF Carlos Gomez is ahead of schedule in his return from a sprained right knee, according to manager Ron Roenicke, and could be used off the bench against the Cardinals this week. ... Jay began the day hitting .377 in August and leading all of the majors with 26 hits during the month. He went 1-for-4. ... St. Louis won its fifth in a row at Miller Park and improved to 9-2 against the Brewers this season ... At 45-0, the Brewers are the only team in the major leagues that hasn't lost a game when leading after eight innings.