National League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, June 12th (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (38-28) at Milwaukee Brewers (37-28), 2:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Jake Westbrook (6-3, 5.01) Milwaukee - Shaun Marcum (6-2, 2.58)
(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Brewers can kill two birds with one stone with a win today over the NL Central-rival St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a three-game series at Miller Park.
Milwaukee will wrap up a three-game sweep of the Cardinals and take over first place in the division with another victory. The Brewers, who are a half-game behind St. Louis in the Central standings, haven't swept the Cardinals in a three-game set since Oct. 2-4, 2009 at Busch Stadium. Their last sweep of St. Louis in a three-game series in Brew City was April 30-May 2, 2007.
St. Louis took two of three meetings from Milwaukee in early May, but the Brewers have won 10 of the previous 15 matchups in this series.
Brewers starters Chris Narveson and Zack Greinke have set the stage for a sweep with solid performances on the mound, while Greinke is coming off seven innings of three-run ball in Saturday's 5-3 triumph to run his unbeaten streak to seven games (6 wins). The righty struck out nine batters and issued no walks for a 6-1 record in eight starts.
"We played a great game tonight," Greinke said. "There was a lot of energy in the field and a lot of nice plays behind me."
Kameron Loe and John Axford both tossed a scoreless inning of relief, with Axford notching his 17th save. Corey Hart capped a four-run sixth inning with a two-run double and Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer in the frame for the Brewers, who won 8-0 in the series opener on Friday. Prince Fielder added a solo homer as well.
The Brewers have won seven of nine games and are 3-2 on a six-game homestand. They will begin a seven-game trek versus the Cubs and Red Sox next week.
Since winning three straight starts and going unbeaten (6-0) in his previous nine trips to the hill, Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum has gone 0-1 with a 3.32 earned run average in his last three starts -- all Milwaukee losses -- and will take the hill Sunday afternoon.
Marcum has registered consecutive no-decisions and delivered six scoreless innings in Tuesday's 2-1 loss versus the New York Mets. Marcum struck out just one batter and issued four walks, and has lasted at least six innings in 12 straight trips to the mound. Overall, he sports a 6-2 record and a 2.58 ERA in 13 starts this season.
The right-hander is 3-1 in six home starts this season and has never faced the Cardinals in his career.
St. Louis entered this series having won five of six games, but are now trying to avoid being swept out of the Badger State. It is 2-3 so far on a nine-game road trip which concludes with three games in Washington, and received another poor start from veteran ace Chris Carpenter. Carpenter was drilled for five runs -- four in the sixth -- and five hits, including two homers, in six innings to fall to 1-6 on the season.
"He made two mistakes in that inning. He got a ball up to Weeks and a ball up to Hart and it was four runs," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Carpenter.
Lance Berkman hit a solo homer, while Daniel Descalso and Yadier Molina had an RBI apiece for St. Louis. Berkman has 16 home runs this season and five in his previous seven contests, batting .286 with 10 RBI over that span. Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double and is batting .371 with five homers, nine RBI, 12 runs and 13 hits over the stretch.
La Russa, who recently managed his 5,000th career game, is five games shy of his 2,500th game as Cardinals skipper.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook puts his unbeaten streak to the test this afternoon and is 4-0 with a 2.61 earned run average in his last five starts. Westbrook had a mediocre outing the previous time out in a 7-4 win at Houston, as he gave up three runs -- two earned -- and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The win lifted Westbrook's 2011 mark to 6-3 in 13 starts to go along with a pedestrian ERA. The right-hander has fared well on the road this season, going 4-1 in seven starts with three straight wins as the guest, and will try for his first career win over Milwaukee. Westbrook is 0-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts in this series.
06/12 10:45:11 ET