Brewers Open Five-Game Central Lead Over Cardinals
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Randy Wolf pitched eight sharp innings and the streaking Milwaukee Brewers jumped on Jake Westbrook early to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Wednesday night, giving the NL Central leaders their 13th win in 14 games.
Prince Fielder had a sacrifice fly in the first inning and an RBI double in the third to help the Brewers open a five-game cushion on the second-place Cardinals.
Milwaukee clinched only its fifth road series win of the season and will try for a three-game sweep Thursday night. The Brewers have taken four of five from St. Louis this month.
The Brewers are 41-15 at home and just 26-35 on the road but are one win away from a perfect 6-0 trip.
Albert Pujols had a sacrifice fly in the first for the Cardinals but is 0-for-8 in the series and 5-for-42 (.119) with only four RBIs against the Brewers this season. St. Louis entered with a four-game winning streak but has yet to lead in the series.
Wolf (9-8) relied on defense, retiring 18 of his last 20 with no walks and one strikeout. He allowed one run and five hits, and pitched four 1-2-3 innings. He's beaten the Cardinals his last two outings although this one was a lot better than a week earlier when he gave up five runs in six innings of a 10-5 victory.
Corey Hart added a two-run single in the ninth off Mitchell Boggs.
Four of the first five Brewers reached safely to open the game, although they settled for Fielder's sacrifice fly. The Cardinals matched them in the bottom of the first on Rafael Furcal's leadoff double, a sacrifice fly and Pujols' sacrifice fly.
The Brewers took the lead in the third when Ryan Braun walked with one out, stole second and scored on Fielder's double, and Yuniesky Betancourt made it 3-1 with a two-out single.
Westbrook (9-6) settled down after that, retiring 11 in a row before walking Fielder with one out in the eighth. He lasted eight innings despite matching his season high with five walks, three of them to the first 12 hitters.
Wolf's only other bit of trouble came in the second when Ryan Theriot singled and Jon Jay doubled with two outs, but Westbrook lined out to center to end the inning.