Right-hander Braden Looper, who has won nine games in relief, worked a scoreless eighth inning in a 3-3 game but was beaten by Milwaukee's Tony Graffanino in a 10-pitch at-bat with two outs in the ninth inning. With a runner on second, Graffanino singled to left for a 4-3 Milwaukee victory.
The Cardinals nonetheless reduced their magic number for clinching the National League Central to seven, although their road record fell to 33-42 and their night-game record on the road dropped to 18-29.
St. Louis also is only 22-32 in games started by left-handers. Milwaukee lefty Chris Capuano pitched out of several jams through the first six innings before Albert Pujols tied his career high with his 46th homer, a three-run shot, with two outs in the seventh inning.
That homer took a potential loss off the ledger of rookie Anthony Reyes, who was mostly brilliant through 5 1/3 innings. Reyes, who had rested for 10 days, fanned a career-high nine, featuring a strong fastball and off-speed stuff he kept mostly low in the strike zone.
REPLAY: Tony Graffanino's third hit of the game, a two-out single in the ninth inning, scored the winning run as the Brewers beat the Cardinals 4-3 Monday.
Albert Pujols had three hits, including a three-run homer for the Cardinals in the seventh inning and now has eight hits in his last 10 at-bats.
--The Cardinals stranded 10 runners, including six in scoring position, in Monday's 4-3 loss to the Brewers. 1B Albert Pujols' three-run homer in the seventh inning was the only hit the club had in 10 at-bats with men in scoring position.
--RHP Jeff Weaver, who was rained out of a start on Sunday in St. Louis, will pitch Tuesday night in the second game of Milwaukee series. RHP Jason Marquis, who was to have started that game, will be moved back to Friday in Houston, leaving RHPs Jeff Suppan and Chris Carpenter, the team's best two starters, to take their normal turns on Wednesday and Thursday.
--SS David Eckstein made his first appearance since Aug. 18 when he pinch-hit in the seventh inning Monday and lined out. Eckstein was out with a strained left oblique muscle.
--RHP Braden Looper suffered only his second loss in 11 decisions, stopping his personal winning streak at six games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of starts out of 31 in which RHP Jason Marquis (14-15) has not had a decision, through Sept. 15.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't want to quit on my team." -- RHP Jason Isringhausen, who is afflicted with a sore left hip and who had been hopeful of pitching again this season but has finally been shut down.