In desperate need of a win to maintain their tenuous lead for the second wild-card spot in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals probably are happy to return to a place that has been a home away from home for a few seasons. The Cardinals look to improve on their major league-best road record and maintain their recent dominance over an NL Central rival on Monday, when they visit the Milwaukee Brewers.
St. Louis dropped two of three to Oakland over the weekend to fall to 30-37 at home and also watched its lead over Pittsburgh for the NL's final wild-card berth shrink to one-half game. A visit to Milwaukee may be the cure again, like it has been so many times in recent years, as the Cardinals have defeated the Brewers 57 times in their last 84 meetings - going 29-12 at Miller Park - since topping them in the NL Championship Series in 2011. Milwaukee has been extremely inconsistent over the last two weeks, following a six-game skid with a four-game winning streak before getting swept by the Pirates at home in a four-game series over the weekend. The Brewers have been outscored 73-28 while dropping nine of 12 in the season series versus the Cardinals.
TV: 7:20 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (12-7, 3.13 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Zach Davies (10-6, 4.06)
Martinez cruised through another efficient turn for his second win in as many tries against the New York Mets on Wednesday, allowing one run and four hits while needing only 97 pitches to complete eight innings. The 24-year-old Dominican also was resourceful a week earlier at Houston, yielding only one run and three hits while fanning seven during a 79-pitch, seven-inning outing. Martinez easily won both of his previous starts versus the Brewers this season, giving up only one run and nine hits while striking out 19 over 13 frames.
Davies halted a three-game winless slide Wednesday with a strong showing at home versus Colorado, collecting the victory after holding the Rockies to a solo home run by Nolan Arenado and four other hits over six innings. The Arizona native has been much more effective at Miller Park this year, going 7-4 with a 3.70 ERA while posting a 3-2 record and 4.81 ERA on the road. Davies enjoyed the finest performance of his career in his only start against St. Louis on July 1, striking out a career-high nine over eight scoreless frames.
1. St. Louis has homered in 17 straight games - the longest active streak in the league. It also matches the longest such run by the team this season (July 6-26).
2. Brewers SS Jonathan Villar homered for the 11th time in 550 plate appearances this season on Sunday, surpassing his total in 658 combined plate appearances over his first three years with Houston.
3. Cardinals INF Matt Carpenter is 15-for-33 with 11 runs, five doubles, three triples and eight RBIs against Milwaukee this season.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Brewers 2
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