National League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 7th (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (2-0) at Milwaukee Brewers (0-1), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Adam Wainwright (0-0, 0.00) Milwaukee - Zack Greinke (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - The Cardinals' offense has looked just fine without Albert Pujols. They hope that momentum can help them end Zack Greinke's outstanding run at home since joining the Brewers.
St. Louis tries to improve to 3-0 on the season this afternoon as it continues a three-game series with Milwaukee.
More than a few wondered just how successful the Cardinals would be at defending their World Series title with Pujols now playing with the Angels and former manager Tony La Russa having retired.
St. Louis has silenced some doubters already, banging out 29 hits over their first two games of the season, a 4-1 win over the Marlins on Wednesday prior to yesterday's 11-5 pounding of the Brewers.
The Cards got four homers in the first three innings, with Yadier Molina connecting on a solo shot in the second before Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday went back-to-back in the third inning with solo shots. World Series hero David Freese then broke the game open two batters later with a two-run shot in the frame.
"We know we can score runs. We got results today," said Beltran.
That was more than enough offense for starter Jamie Garcia, who allowed two runs in the first inning on Carlos Gomez's RBI triple and a run-scoring groundout by Aramis Ramirez, but did not allow another run through his six- inning start. In fact, Milwaukee didn't cross the plate again until backup catcher George Kottaras' pinch-hit three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
"Jamie found his groove. Things certainly could have gone a lot differently after the first inning," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo was tagged for six runs on seven hits and five walks in just 3 2/3 innings.
"I don't know why [Gallardo] was out-of-sync. Once in a while he gets out of his delivery and his rhythm isn't there," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "We saw in spring training where he would have it for an inning, then he would be off for awhile, but then he would get it back. Today he didn't have any innings where he was on."
Ryan Braun, last season's National League MVP, went 0-for-5 in his first game since being suspended for, and successfully appealing, a violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy.
He was greeted by a long standing ovation and chants of "MVP! MVP!" from the home crowd before lining out in the first inning of Milwaukee's season opener.
The Brewers seek a better outing today from Greinke, who has never lost at Miller Park in a Brewers uniform. After coming over in a trade from the Royals prior to last season, the right-hander went 11-0 in 15 home starts with Milwaukee, posting a 3.13 earned run average.
The former American League Cy Young Award winner went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA in 28 starts with the Brewers and struck out 201. He is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA in nine career meetings with the Cardinals, including seven starts, in the regular season.
The 28-year-old also faced the Cardinals twice in last season's NLCS, getting a win in Game 1 despite allowing six runs over six innings. Greinke then took a loss in Game 5 five days later, yielding five runs -- two earned -- over 5 2/3 innings.
Greinke will try to prevent the Cardinals from starting a season 3-0 for the first time since their 2006 championship season and spoil Adam Wainwright's return to a major league hill.
Wainwright has won 39 games over his previous two seasons in the big leagues, but missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The right- hander hasn't pitched in the majors since Sept. 24, 2010, ending a campaign in which he went 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA in 33 starts.
The 30-year-old is 7-4 with a save in 21 career games versus the Brewers, 14 of those starts.
After the clubs split 18 regular-season meetings, many of those heated affairs, the Cardinals got past the Brewers in six games en route to their second World Series title in six years.
04/07 10:29:46 ET