Cardinals down Brewers 7-2, move into 2nd wild-card spot
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Marcell Ozuna homered and Miles Mikolas tossed six effective innings to push the St. Louis Cardinals into the second wild-card spot in the NL with a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.
St. Louis moved a half-game ahead of Milwaukee and within four of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
The Cardinals, who are a half-game behind wild card-leading Philadelphia, have won 10 of their last 11 and captured their seventh straight series after winning the opener of the three-game set on Friday.
The seven-series winning streak is the longest since St. Louis won eight in a row from April 10-May 7, 2015.
Travis Shaw and Christian Yelich homered for the Brewers, who have lost six of eight.
Ozuna hit his 15th homer of the season in the second off Wade Miley (2-2).
Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader added two-run hits as St. Louis improved to 21-10 under interim manager Mike Shildt, who took over after Mike Matheny was fired on July 14.
Mikolas (13-3) gave up one run on five hits. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter in winning his fifth consecutive decision.
Miley surrendered four runs on four hits over five innings. Three of the runs were unearned thanks to a missed third strike by catcher Erik Kratz that prolonged a three-run third inning.
Tyler O’Neill broke a 1-all tie with a bloop single to right following the passed ball by Kratz, which would have ended the inning. Following a walk to Ozuna, DeJong hit a two-run single to push the lead to 4-1.
St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter had a 35-game streak of reaching base snapped with a 0-for-4 performance.
DeJong drove in three runs.
Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell was ejected in the first inning by home plate umpire Cory Blaser. Blaser had warned Miley for throwing inside to O’Neill. Mikolas hit Lorenzo Cain in the top of the first.
Counsell came out to argue the warning and was ejected for the fourth time this season.
St. Louis infielder Kolten Wong was removed in the fourth inning with a bruised right elbow. He was hit by a pickoff attempt from Miley.
Brewers: OF Ryan Braun missed his second straight game with a sore rib cage. He is listed s day-to-day.
Cardinals: OF Jose Martinez was originally in the starting lineup, but was scratched 90 minutes before the game with right hip tightness. He was replaced by O’Neill. … RHP Carlos Martinez will make his second rehab appearance on Sunday for Double-A Springfield. Martinez, who was bothered by a right shoulder strain, threw two innings on Friday.
RHP Jhoulys Chacin (12-4, 3.72) will face RHP John Gant (5-4, 3.74) in the final game of the three-game series on Sunday. The Brewers are 18-8 when Chacin starts. He is 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA in three career starts in St. Louis. Gant hit a two-run homer in his last outing, a 6-4 win over Washington on Tuesday.