MILWAUKEE -- Luke Voit finished with four RBIs, Paul DeJong added three more RBIs and the Cardinals gained ground on the Brewers in the National League Central with a 10-2 victory at Miller Park on Tuesday.
Both teams played with an eye on the out-of-town scoreboard, where the Cubs' 4-1 win over the Pirates went final before the start of the ninth. The Brewers fell 3 1/2 games behind division-leading Chicago, while the Cardinals remained five games out of first.
"It'd be really nice to win both of these and set the tone for this road trip," infielder Matt Carpenter said after the first game of the Cardinals' 10-game road trip. "You think about this trip and worst-case, we'd like to go 7-3. To win tonight and give us a chance to win tomorrow [is] a good start."
The Brewers were coming off a winning three-city road trip capped by an inspired series victory at Dodger Stadium, but fell flat in their return home behind Matt Garza. He recorded 10 outs and contributed to the Brewers' defensive woes in the third inning, when the Cardinals took a 3-0 lead with only one hit, a Tommy Pham single to get things started. The biggest blow was Voit's soft grounder to shortstop, a run-scoring fielder's choice that netted not one but two runs when William Fowler alertly hustled home while the Brewers tried to turn two.
DeJong added a two-run single in the Cardinals' four-run fourth as Garza's night came to an end. He was charged with six runs (three earned) on four hits and five walks in 3 1/3 innings and has a 9.28 ERA in his last five starts.
"I don't think anyone is going to be down on themselves or think it's over. I think we're going to come back and keep grinding," said Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton. "That was a big series, the Dodgers win, and even the Colorado series [earlier on Milwaukee's long road trip] was a really big series for us. To come back and not be able to get a win today is really heartbreaking. But all we can do is bounce back and do the best we can."
• 'Right now,' Crew planning to stick with struggling Garza
Cardinals starter Luke Weaver fared much better than Garza, surrendering eight hits but only two runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out 10. He joined Rick Ankiel as the only Cardinals rookies with back-to-back double-digit strikeout games, and Alan Benes as the only Cardinals pitchers with three double-digit strikeouts games within 15 career starts. Four of Weaver's five highest strikeout totals, including his two 10-strikeout games, have come against the Brewers.
"Probably his best start was his last one here, and you know they had a good look at him," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You wonder that next time, are they going to make adjustments? The thing was, with that 95 [mph fastball], that's sneaky. It's just effortless. The ball jumps out of his hand, and it has a little different angle to it. And the changeup makes everyone aware. I think it was a good test for him, and we needed that. He was great."
• Rookie Weaver solidifying spot in rotation
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Crew can't turn two: Garza and the Brewers botched two chances to turn an inning-ending double play in the third inning, and the Cardinals made them pay by turning those extra opportunities into the game's first three runs. Third baseman Travis Shaw bobbled DeJong's one-out bouncer to help St. Louis load the bases for Kolten Wong's comebacker to Garza, who dropped it, then shuffled home to Manny Pina for a run-scoring error charged to the catcher. Voit padded the lead when he followed with his two-run grounder.
"We gave them five outs. That's too many," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "You are going to give up runs when you give a team five outs."
Last gasp: The Brewers ended Weaver's night with four consecutive two-out singles in the sixth to cut the deficit to 9-2 with a chance to climb back into the game. Matheny opted to turn switch-hitting Jonathan Villar around to the right side by calling upon left-handed reliever Zach Duke, who managed to snag Villar's 96.1 mph (according to Statcast™) line drive before it struck him in the head. Duke raised his glove in the air to celebrate a big inning-ending out.
"You could tell he was starting to labor a little," Matheny said of Weaver, who reached a pitch count of 111. "Fortunately, Duke defended himself well."
"The goal is to get strikes, and if strikeouts come, that's just a plus." -- Weaver, on becoming the first Cardinals pitcher in more than a year to notch double-digit strikeouts in consecutive starts
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Eric Thames' third-inning home run was the Brewers' 100th at Miller Park this season, marking the 10th time in 49 years as a franchise they've hit that many in home games. All 10 of those seasons have been at hitter-friendly Miller Park, which opened in 2001.
A day after pledging to donate $10,000 per home run to hurricane relief efforts in his hometown of Houston, Carpenter wasted no time drawing the first check. His two-run, fifth-inning homer may have been inconsequential in the outcome, but it secured a $30,000 charity donation, as Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals both matched Carpenter's initial pledge. The 427-foot home run was the second longest of the 18 Carpenter has hit this year.
"You're feeling pretty good in the box when you're sitting at home on an off-day tweeting out home run pledges," Carpenter said. "When I got in the box the first at-bat, the magnitude of that hit me. I thought, 'Man, I hope I can actually hit one, because it would be embarrassing if I go 32 games without one.' It felt really, really good to be able to get one out of the way."
Cardinals: The Cardinals will wrap up their quick two-day stop in Milwaukee with a 1:10 p.m. CT game against the Brewers on Wednesday. Carlos Martinez, who boasts the lowest ERA (1.99) versus Milwaukee of any active pitcher with at least five starts, will make his 27th start of the season for St. Louis.
Brewers:Chase Anderson makes his third start since coming off the disabled list, and his first at Miller Park, when the series concludes Wednesday. He's 0-2 in seven career starts against the Cardinals despite a 2.70 ERA in those games.
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