Shelby Miller will try to shake off a rough last outing and remain unbeaten in his young career against Milwaukee as the St. Louis Cardinals open up a three-game set with the Brewers on Monday night.
Miller lasted just two pitches in a start on Aug. 7 after taking a liner off his pitching arm versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. The righty was able to make a start a week later versus Pittsburgh, but was tagged for five runs -- three earned -- on eight hits and two walks over six innings of a 5-1 loss.
Miller yielded a pair of solo homers in the second inning to fall behind early. It also marked the first time that he allowed two home runs in a game in eight starts and he suffered further damage by allowing a pair of run- scoring hits in a three-run fourth frame.
"They were putting the ball right where the players weren't," Miller said. "It's just a tough ballgame for us."
Miller fell to 11-5 with a 2.97 earned run average in 23 starts this season and that includes a pair of victories in his first two career starts versus the Brewers. Miller has held Milwaukee to just a run over 13 innings while striking out 13.
The 2009 first-round pick has a chance to pitch the Cardinals into a tie for first place in the NL Central as St. Louis trails Pittsburgh by a game in the standings. The Pirates begin a three-game set in San Diego on Monday.
The Cards have won five of their last seven and picked up a series victory over the Chicago Cubs with Sunday's 6-1 victory.
Jon Jay drove in four runs, including a seventh-inning three-run homer that snapped a tie game, and Adam Wainwright logged another seven-inning gem, striking out 11 batters while giving up one run to win his 14th game of the season.
"I thought that was as good as he's been this season," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Wainwright. "He came out in the first and established all his pitches and had great life. His curveball was as sharp as we've seen it, and that made a difference."
The Cardinals now turn their attention to the Brewers, who are coming off a split of their four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds. They dropped a 9-1 decision on Sunday.
Khris Davis' home run accounted for all the offense for the Brewers, while Wily Peralta gave up seven runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings to lose for a fourth time in his past five starts.
"Hopefully he bounces back and the next one is a good one," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Peralta. "It's just his command. When his command is off, he's not going to pitch well. His command was off today."
Roenicke hopes for a better effort tonight from Marco Estrada, who won for the first time in four starts last time out.
Facing the Texas Rangers last Tuesday, Estrada allowed a run on four hits without a walk over six innings. The 30-year-old righty picked up his first victory since May 24 and was making just his second start since June 3 after missing time due to a strained left hamstring.
Estrada is 5-4 with a 4.71 ERA in 14 starts this season and will face the Cardinals for the fourth time in 2013. He is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in the three previous meetings and 0-4 against them lifetime with a 6.55 ERA in 10 games (5 starts).
The Cardinals have won eight of 10 versus the Brewers this season, sweeping a four-game set in Milwaukee from May 2-5.