Cardinals open series with Brewers

The St. Louis Cardinals are back on top in the National League Central. They'll try to stay there on Tuesday when they begin a three- game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium.

After losing three of four in Cincinnati, St. Louis bounced back by sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates and is a game up in the division. On Sunday, rookie Michael Wacha tossed seven scoreless innings and singled home a pair during a four-run fifth, as the Cardinals finished off the Pirates with a dominating 9-2 win.

Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay and David Freese each had two hits and one RBI for St. Louis, which has won nine of 11 at home.

Wacha (3-0) scattered two hits and walked two during his impressive outing.

"That was our last opportunity to play those guys," Carpenter said. "We needed to come out and have a big series, and I don't think you can have a bigger one than getting the sweep like we did."

Hoping to keep the Cards in the win column on Tuesday will be righty Shelby Miller, who is 12-9 with a 3.19 ERA. Miller did not get a decision on Wednesday in Cincinnati, as he allowed three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings of his team's 5-4 win.

"I want the expectation level being there for our young guys," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "I want them to feel that they can do this, they've done it and they're going to continue to do it. I want it to be a little bit of arrogance instead of ignorance. But controlled arrogance."

Miller is 2-0 in three starts versus the Brewers with a 1.47 ERA.

Milwaukee, meanwhile, will counter with righty Wily Peralta, who is 9-14 with a 4.51 ERA. Peralta won for the first time in four decisions on Wednesday against Pittsburgh, as he allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings.

"I thought he made some really good pitches when he needed to, but he struggled," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He struggled with his command, and then all of a sudden on 3-2, he makes a great pitch, and he did it more than once. So when he needed to make (a pitch), he did."

Peralta has lost both of his starts to the Cardinals and has allowed 12 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings of those outings.

Milwaukee took two of three from the Chicago Cubs over the weekend, but has just three wins in its last nine games.

St. Louis is 10-3 this season against the Brewers.