ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright picked up where his rotation mate, Jaime Garcia, left off one night earlier to further befuddle the Brewers and lift St. Louis to a 3-0 win on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium. The loss, which followed a one-hour, 32-minute rain delay, assured Milwaukee
ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright picked up where his rotation mate, Jaime Garcia, left off one night earlier to further befuddle the Brewers and lift St. Louis to a 3-0 win on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium. The loss, which followed a one-hour, 32-minute rain delay, assured Milwaukee of dropping its third season series against the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have held the Brewers scoreless since the second inning on Friday, and Wainwright covered seven of those scoreless frames on Saturday. That's not to say Milwaukee didn't have its chances. The Brewers tallied one hit off Wainwright in every inning, but an 0-for-5 showing with runners in scoring position thwarted several scoring opportunities.
"My stuff was actually very mediocre today," said Wainwright, who lowered his career ERA vs. Milwaukee to 2.23. "But I tried to mix it and match it and curve it and cut it. At times I didn't have the best location, but it was always moving somewhere. I tried to alter my delivery a little bit to keep them [off-balance]. I had way better stuff against Kansas City than I did tonight. That's baseball. You make pitches when you need to."
Wainwright, along with batterymate Yadier Molina, achieved some personal milestones along the way, too. Molina tallied his 1,500th career hit with a fourth-inning single off Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson that helped build a three-run inning for the Cardinals. Kolten Wong followed with a two-run triple and then scored on Greg Garcia's successful squeeze.
For Wainwright, the win -- No. 128 of his career -- tied him for seventh all-time in Cardinals history with Harry Brecheen.
Seung Hwan Oh pitched the ninth for his first big league save, and the first save for a Cardinals pitcher since Trevor Rosenthal was removed from the closer's role. Oh notched 357 saves in Korea and Japan before signing with the Cardinals in January.
"Happy is one word I would describe the feeling as," Oh said, speaking through translator Eugene Koo. "I understand the importance, and that it's one of the major accomplishments I've achieved in my baseball career. I'm very happy I could contribute to the team."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hit club: Molina became the 34th catcher in Major League history to collect 1,500 career hits when he singled up the middle in the fourth. He's the second Cardinals catcher to reach that milestone, joining Ted Simmons, who finished his career with 1,704 hits in 13 seasons with St. Louis. Upon reaching first base and receiving a standing ovation, Molina twice doffed his helmet to acknowledge the home crowd.
"I feel so blessed to be a Cardinal and to be part of this," Molina said afterward. "That was a great moment for me, and I will remember that moment."
Stepping stone: Coming off a winless June in which he posted a 5.87 ERA and never cleared more than 5 1/3 innings, Nelson's July debut represented a step forward. His four strikeouts were his most in four starts, and his six-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth inning gave him his longest start since a May 29 win against the Reds. lowered Nelson's season ERA to 2.88. It now stands at 3.56. The two earned runs were the fewest Nelson has allowed in seven career games versus the Cardinals, against whom he's 0-6 with an 8.19 ERA.
"I don't care if it's a Pee Wee team or if it's against the best team in the world," Nelson said. "Every loss [ticks] me off."
2-for-1: Wainwright didn't pitch a clean inning, but he was aided by double plays turned behind him after the Brewers opened the fourth, fifth and sixth with singles. The three double plays induced matched a career game-high for Wainwright, who now has 14 on the season. That total is second most in the National League behind teammate Carlos Martinez. In total, the Cardinals turned a season-high four double plays as reliever Jonathan Broxton induced one in the eighth as well.
"Just good plays all the way around," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Watching whether it's Garcia going to his backhand, Kolten making a turn and [Brandon Moss] making a pick, you could just see different things that happened that guys did extremely well. Being able to trust your defense, it's just one of those confidence boosters for our pitching staff, that they don't have to be perfect."
Going all out: The biggest hit of the game's only scoring rally belonged to Wong, whose triple bounced past a diving Brewers right fielder Ramon Flores for two Cardinals runs. It left Wong at third base to score on Garcia's squeeze along the first-base line.
Asked whether Flores made the right decision to lay out on the play, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, "Yeah, you definitely try to catch it. He got a glove on it. He made an effort, but he just couldn't get it."
"Yeah, it's not fun. It's obviously frustrating. But they're a good team, and they've been a good team for a long time. … We know when we play against them that you don't have a lot of room for error. We've made some mistakes the last couple of days and we haven't capitalized when we've gotten guys on base." -- Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, on another loss to the Cardinals, who have taken six of eight matchups between the teams this season by a combined score of 48-14.
"It's actually weird being at second base. It felt super close. I see second base as my position, and obviously I'll be back there soon, but right now I'm just trying to get in the lineup and play where I can." -- Wong, on filling in for an absent Matt Carpenter at second base for the first time since being recalled from Triple-A.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In each of the Cardinals' wins over the Brewers this series, they have tallied one outfield putout on defense. On Friday, it was Keon Broxton's flyout to right. Saturday, Chris Carter drove a ball to deep center that Tommy Pham tracked down.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals successfully used their challenge to take an infield single away from Braun in the third. Braun hit a ball up the middle that caromed off Wainwright, who recovered in time to throw to first. A review of the play reversed the safe call and sent Braun to the dugout as the second out of the inning.
The Cardinals later lost their challenge in the fifth after asking for a review of shortstop Jonathan Villar's double-play turn. The replay official, however, saw no clear evidence that Villar missed touching second base while turning two.
Brewers:Chase Anderson, who struggled against the Dodgers in his most recent start after nine days of rest, will work on a more regular schedule in Sunday's 1:15 p.m. CT series finale. In two career starts at Busch Stadium, Anderson has surrendered two earned runs in 12 innings. .
Cardinals: Second baseman Matt Carpenter is expected back in the Cardinals' lineup on Sunday after leaving the team for a day due to a death in his family. Carpenter will play behind Michael Wacha, who's made four straight quality starts and is 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in three career home starts against the Brewers.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.