Right-hander Joel Pineiro, the newest addition to the group, worked seven innings for the second consecutive time, holding Milwaukee to two solo homers, by center fielder Bill Hall and left fielder Geoff Jenkins. Pineiro didn't walk a batter for the second start in succession.
And, as it often happens, the offense has picked up with the stabilization of the pitching. First baseman Albert Pujols, center fielder Jim Edmonds and third baseman Scott Rolen, the "MV3" of past years, homered in the same game for just the second time this season and first since April 22. Rolen, in fact, had four hits, with his two-run homer off a breaking ball capping a three-run first inning.
"The game the third baseman had was Hall of Fame material," said manager Tony La Russa, referring to two good defensive plays Rolen also made.
Edmonds had a single to go with his homer, giving him seven games in the last 11 in which he has had at least two hits, although he came out of the game after seven innings with a leg injury and is doubtful for Thursday's finale.
And, though Pineiro fanned three times, the Cardinals are 7-4 in 11 games in which the pitcher has batted eighth.
"I was facing a team I had never faced before, so I was in the hands of Yadi (catcher Yadier Molina)," said Pineiro.
CARDINALS 8, BREWERS 3: The Cardinals beat Milwaukee for the fifth time in succession. After amassing 17 singles on Tuesday, they played more long-ball on Wednesday, banging three home runs. The Cardinals moved to 3-1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers in the National League Central for the first time since late April.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RF Rick Ankiel is just 2-for-11 with five strikeouts in the first two games of the series, but he has hit safely in all six games he has played since coming up from Class AAA Memphis.
--The Cardinals' four-game winning streak has tied a season high.
--The Cardinals will win their third straight series, no matter what happens in Thursday's series finale.
--RHP Jason Isringhausen, working for the first time in a week, fanned both hitters he faced in the ninth, although it was not a save situation.
--CF Jim Edmonds' eighth homer was his first since June 9 against the Los Angeles Angels.
--RF Juan Encarnacion, who has sat the last six games as Ankiel has played and Encarnacion has nursed a sore left knee, said he was feeling better. "I'll be able to play in Chicago (this weekend), the way I feel right now," said Encarnacion.
--Power-hitting Texas OF Kyle Russell, the fourth-round choice of the Cardinals, turned down the Cardinals' final offer and returned to college.