National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, August 2nd (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (57-52) at Milwaukee Brewers (61-49), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Jaime Garcia (10-5, 3.14) Milwaukee - Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.33)
(Sports Network) - It comes as no surprise to the Cardinals that the Brewers own baseball's best home winning percentage. That fact has given Milwaukee the edge so far in the battle between National League Central contenders.
Streaking Milwaukee tries to defeat St. Louis for the seventh straight time at Miller Park and stretch its season-best winning streak to eight in a row overall in the process as the teams continue a three-game series.
After losing two of three in St. Louis back in May, the Brewers logged a three-game sweep at home in a rematch in mid-June. That ran Milwaukee's series home winning streak to five straight and that burst was extended last night with the Brewers' 6-2 victory in the series opener.
Matt Holliday staked the Cardinals to an early lead with a two-run homer in the first inning, but the Brewers went ahead for good with a five-run fifth inning. The big blow in the frame came off the bat of Nyjer Morgan, who stroked a three-run double.
Zack Greinke shut the Cards down after allowing Holliday's homer to pick up the victory with his six-inning start.
Milwaukee's longest winning streak since May 12-19, 2009 has stretched its lead over St. Louis for first place in the NL Central to 3 1/2 games. The Brewers also improved to 40-14 at home this season.
"Real nice way to start," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of the series.
All five runs in the fifth inning where charged to losing Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, who suffered his first defeat since June 17. St. Louis, meanwhile, lost for the fourth time in six games overall.
"I'm not sure what happened in that inning," Carpenter said. "I got some balls up and had some tough luck. I made a good pitch to Nyjer, my stuff was good. I kept trying to get outs and keep the ball down."
The Cardinals' Jamie Garcia has to be itching for this start as he called his last game against the Brewers on May 6 "one of the greatest days of my short career." That's because the 25-year-old carried a perfect game into the eighth inning en route to a two-hit shutout, retiring the first 22 batters faced and striking out eight to move to 3-2 with a 3.00 earned run average versus the Brewers.
Garcia will try to duplicate that outing after he struggled in a rare home loss on Thursday. Facing the Astros, the southpaw yielded five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and two walks over six frames in just his second home loss of the season and second in his past six starts.
"He was okay. He certainly didn't stink up the joint, but he wasn't as good as he usually is," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of his starter, who fell to 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA this season.
Though Garcia has done well at home this year, he is just 4-3 with a 4.74 ERA in 12 road games.
Shaun Marcum seeks a fourth straight winning start as he goes tonight for the Brewers.
The righty is coming off a victory over the Cubs on Thursday as he was charged with two runs for a third straight outing. He lasted six innings versus Chicago, working around seven hits and a walk. Marcum hasn't lost since June 29 and is 10-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 22 starts this year. That includes a 5-1 mark in 11 games at home.
Marcum, 29, faced the Cardinals for the first time in his career on June 12 and got the win, allowing three runs over seven innings with eight strikeouts.
08/02 10:41:28 ET