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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Monday, August 1st (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (57-51) at Milwaukee Brewers (60-49), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Chris Carpenter (6-7, 3.68) Milwaukee - Zack Greinke (8-4, 4.50)

(Sports Network) - The Cardinals made some moves before Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline that shows they have no intentions of ceding the National League Central title to the Brewers.

While looking to gel together some fresh faces, St. Louis turns to a veteran in Chris Carpenter tonight and he'll try to help his team make up some ground on Milwaukee and deny the first-place club a seventh consecutive victory in the opener of a key three-game series at Miller Park.

The Cardinals have been doing their best to keep pace with the streaking Brewers, winning seven of their last 11 games. Still, they dropped to 2 1/2 games behind the Brewers on Sunday with a 6-3 setback to the Cubs that denied them a three-game sweep.

Jake Westbrook was perfect through five innings, but ended up yielding four runs in the sixth inning to suffer his first defeat since June 12. Lance Berkman, playing for the first time since last Tuesday because of a right shoulder injury, tried to keep his club in it with a three-run homer, but it wasn't enough.

St. Louis made some news off the field earlier Sunday, getting shortstop Rafael Furcal from the Dodgers. He made his debut as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, but is likely to start and bat leadoff tonight.

His acquisition comes after the Cardinals got starter Edwin Jackson, outfielder Corey Patterson and relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel from the Blue Jays earlier in the week. St. Louis will look for each player to contribute in this series -- Jackson is scheduled to start Wednesday's finale -- one that Ryan Theriot didn't sugarcoat after Sunday's loss.

"It's the biggest series of the year," Theriot told St. Louis' website. "It's a big series, we can gain some ground and put ourselves in a good position."

Carpenter will look to get his club off to a good start as he aims to extend a seven-start unbeaten streak. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.21 earned run average in that span and hasn't lost since June 17.

St. Louis won the first six outings of Carpenter's run before a 4-2 loss to the Astros on Wednesday. Carpenter allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk over seven innings of a no-decision, giving him a 6-7 mark and 3.68 earned run average in 22 starts this season.

The 36-year-old Carpenter is 4-5 with a 5.09 ERA in 12 career starts versus the Brewers, including a loss on June 11. Carpenter was charged with five runs on five hits, yielding homers to Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks.

Carpenter opposed another former Cy Young Award winner on that day in Milwaukee's Zack Greinke and the two go head-to-head again tonight. Greinke allowed three runs over seven innings with nine strikeouts in that June 11 victory, improving to 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA in his career versus the Cards.

The 27-year-old righty halted a personal five-start winless drought (0-2) on Wednesday with a victory over the Cubs. He threw 6 2/3 innings of two-hit ball, also walking three and striking out nine in a 2-0 win, his first since June 21.

Greinke upped his record to 8-4 with a 4.50 ERA this year and is a perfect 6-0 with a 3.55 ERA over that time in eight starts at Miller Park.

Weeks suffered an ankle injury in that win and landed on the disabled list. Milwaukee has since acquired a pair of infielders to help fill the void in Felipe Lopez and Jerry Hairston Jr.

The loss of an All-Star hasn't slowed down Milwaukee as it has swept consecutive three-game sets from the Cubs and Astros. The Brewers wrapped their series with Houston on Sunday, claiming a 5-4 victory thanks to a pair of RBI from both Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy.

Fielder and Corey Hart both had three hits and Fielder drove in his 76th run of the season for the Brewers, who also won a season-best six straight from May 20-25.

"We're playing really good ball and we're pitching real good," said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke. "It's not like we're bashing the ball, but we put together good at-bats."

The Brewers have won four of six versus the Cardinals this year, including a three-game sweep at home from June 10-12. That ran their series home winning streak to five straight games.

08/01 10:36:42 ET

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