Brewers Not Taking Series Lightly

Milwaukee faces tough cookie Adam Wainwright in tonight's finale before heading to Pittsburgh for another three-game set against the Pirates.

Inside pitch

Manager Ned Yost wasn't about to buy into the line of thinking that the two-game series against St. Louis was more important to the Cardinals because they trailed by 3 1/2 games in the NL wild-card race.

"It's no more important for them than us," Yost said. "It's a big series for both of us, even though it's a two-game series. You can't do a whole lot of damage, but it's the last two times that we meet.

"We're trying to put as much distance as we can over a damn good team over there. Those guys haven't gotten the credit they've been due from the first day of spring training. That's a good team over there, capable of flying past us in a heartbeat. This is an important series for us, too. We've got to come in here and play our best baseball. With a month left, 3 1/2 games is nothing."

The Brewers then went out and made it 4 1/2 games by thumping the Cardinals, 12-0. The New York Mets also were 4 1/2 games behind after losing to Philadelphia.

On the surface, it appears the Cardinals have a tougher September schedule than the Brewers. St. Louis will play Arizona seven times (four at home) and has six games against the Chicago Cubs, three against Florida and three in Houston.

Brewers 12, Cardinals 0

Ben Sheets finally beat St. Louis. Pitching in and out of trouble for six innings, Sheets posted his first victory against the Cardinals since May 1 of last season.

The game was tense in the early going, but the Brewers finally broke it open late, scoring seven times in the ninth inning. Craig Counsell, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder all had three hits to pace the 16-hit attack. The Brewers have beaten the Cardinals seven consecutive times this season, going 10-4 against them with one meeting left tonight.

Notes

--Left fielder Braun, who went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer Tuesday night, is batting .491 (28-for-57) against St. Louis this season with seven home runs and 13 RBIs.

--Shortstop J.J. Hardy extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a third-inning triple, his first three-bagger of the season. Hardy had only one triple during the 2007 season.

--Sheets posted his first victory in St. Louis since the final weekend of the 2004 season with six shutout innings. Sheets was 5-14 in 25 career starts against the Cardinals entering that outing.

--Second baseman Ray Durham left the game Tuesday night in the seventh inning with a strained right shoulder. He was listed as day-to-day.

--Brewers starting pitchers are 14-5 with a 2.71 ERA in their last 23 games, posting 18 quality starts over that span.


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