MILWAUKEE (AP) — Michael Wacha effectively cooled off NL MVP Christian Yelich, and the St. Louis Cardinals finally broke through against the reigning division champs.
Wacha slowed Yelich and pitched six solid innings, Matt Carpenter and Marcell Ozuna each went deep, and the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Wednesday to avoid being swept.
Yelich came in batting .556 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in the series, but he was 0 for 2 with a strikeout and a walk against Wacha. Yelich did single in a run in the eighth off Andrew Miller.
The Cardinals’ plan was to work the inside part of the plate against Yelich.
“We didn’t control that part of the plate for most of this series, but (Wacha) did today,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.
Wacha (1-0) bounced back after a tough start Thursday against the Dodgers. He struck out seven Brewers, allowing two runs and five hits to improve to 6-0 career against last year’s NL Central winners.
“Michael Wacha was the art of pitching today,” Shildt said. “He came out, established his fastball and established his secondary pitches. He had a great changeup today, and he threw it in appropriately. Just real good balance and timing.”
Brewers manager Craig Counsell thought one pitch in particular clicked for Wacha.
“His cutter was a good pitch for him today,” Counsell said. “He kept us off balance pretty good.”
Jordan Hicks pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes (0-2) got beat by the long ball again. He surrendered three home runs in each of his first three starts, then coughed up two more against St. Louis. He’s allowed a major league-most 11 on the season.
Ozuna went deep in the second and Carpenter in the fourth. It was Ozuna’s fourth consecutive game with a homer and eighth overall.
The Brewers had won nine of 10 against St. Louis, including four in a row, but two RBI singles by Matt Weiters and one apiece by Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong helped snap that streak. DeJong went 4 for 5.
Burnes struggled through 3 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out three in his shortest start of the inning.
“The fastball wasn’t located very well today,” Counsell said. “Lot of stuff over the middle. That’s going to get hit.”
Cardinals: The Cardinals placed OF Harrison Bader (right hamstring strain) on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 14, and recalled rookie OF Lane Thomas. He came in as a defensive replacement in center field for Jose Martinez in the eighth. … C Yadier Molina got the day off.
Brewers: CF Lorenzo Cain got the day off and Ben Gamel started in his place. … RHP Jeremy Jeffress, reinstated from the 10-day IL (right shoulder injury) on Tuesday, made his first 2019 appearance in the eighth.
WILKERSON GOES DEEP
Reliever Aaron Wilkerson, recalled from Triple-A San Antonio on Tuesday, spoiled Wacha’s bid for a shutout in the fifth with a two-run homer, his first major league hit.
“I wasn’t expecting to hit,” Wilkerson said after borrowing and then getting to keep right-hander Zach Davies’ bat. “I’m pretty sure my eyes were closed when I swung the bat. I really didn’t feel it. I heard it. Sounded good. It was surreal.”
He also got the ball.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (1-1, 3.94 ERA) starts against the New York Mets on Friday.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (2-0, 1.53 ERA) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. He beat them 4-1 at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, allowing one run over seven innings.