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NL Central rivals start series at Busch

(SportsNetwork.com) - National League Central Division rivals are set to square off Monday night at Busch Stadium, as the St. Louis Cardinals host the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener of a three-game set.

Milwaukee has won six of its last seven games and currently owns baseball's best record at 18-7. However, the Brewers were unable to complete a series sweep over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday as they suffered a 4-0 loss.

They managed just three hits without Ryan Braun and Jean Segura in the lineup, and both could miss Monday's series opener, as well. Braun has a strained intercostal muscle, and Segura's right eye area remains swollen after getting inadvertently hit in the face by Braun during a batting practice swing on Saturday.

"We don't expect them to be (out) real long, but you never know," manager Ron Roenicke said.

The Brewers, who hold an early 4 1/2-game division lead, have been particularly successful on the road with a 9-1 mark on the season.

St. Louis sealed its three-game series with Pittsburgh over the weekend thanks to Sunday's 7-0 victory. Jhonny Peralta went deep twice to spark the Cardinals' offensive outburst, which came after being held to three or less runs in each of their previous seven games. They also ended a drought of 366 at-bats without a home run.

Michael Wacha gets the start for St. Louis on Monday in what will be his first career start against Milwaukee. In his last outing, Wacha faced the Mets and posted 10 strikeouts to go along with five walks in only four innings.

Collectively, Cardinals starters rank second in the majors in ERA (2.24) and opponent batting average (.210).

Then again, Milwaukee's rotation has also gotten the job done with quality starts in all but five games so far this season.

Looking to continue that trend on Monday will be right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who has pitched at least six innings and yielded two or fewer earned runs in all five of his starts.

"I've just been consistent," he said. "That was one of my main focuses in spring training, and I've been able to do that. It's a matter of keeping it going throughout the year."

Despite his early-season success, Gallardo is just 1-11 with a 6.46 ERA in 17 career starts against the Cardinals. In eight of those starts, he failed to make it out of the fifth inning.

St. Louis won two out of three when these clubs met up in Milwaukee earlier this month.

04/28 10:30:14 ET