Brewers, Cardinals square off in series finale

MLB

The Milwaukee Brewers will look to build on a breakout offensive performance when they face the Cardinals in the rubber match of their three-game series in St. Louis on Sunday afternoon.

The Brewers surged for season highs in hits (13) and runs in Saturday’s 9-5 victory after averaging 2.3 runs in their previous six games.

St. Louis is looking to bounce back after seeing its four-game winning streak end.

Avisail Garcia homered and drove in five runs in Saturday’s win while Keston Hiura added a three-run homer for the Brewers. Hiura was 1-for-23 entering the game but could be primed to leave his slump behind after recording two hits Saturday.

St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado continues to impress with his new team. The five-time All-Star has hit safely in each of his first eight games with the Cardinals, going 11-for-33 to open the season.

“Our fan base enjoys good, fundamental baseball,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. “Players that play with passion, that have talent. Players that do the little things, play defense. Players that respect the game, players that work hard. Nolan has got all of these attributes.”

Arenado is batting third behind first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who returned Saturday after missing one game due to lower-back tightness.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina had three hits Saturday and is riding a seven-game hitting streak.

St. Louis could be without left fielder Tyler O’Neill for the series finale after the left fielder exited Saturday’s game in the third inning with a groin injury. O’Neill was replaced by Austin Dean, who hit a three-run homer in the eighth.

Adrian Houser’s outing on Saturday marked another strong performance by Milwaukee starting pitchers, who have tossed at least five innings and not allowed an earned run in four straight games.

“I feel like our starters have done really, really well,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s going to be tough to top the rest of the season. In fact, we won’t.”

The Brewers will turn to left-hander Brett Anderson (0-1, 7.20 ERA), who gave up four runs over five innings in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs last Monday. Anderson tossed three perfect innings before allowing three homers in the fourth.

The Texas native has a 1-3 record and 3.32 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals but has struggled to contain Arenado (6-for-15, two homers).

St. Louis starter Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0, 1.80), a right-hander, is looking to build on a promising outing last Monday, when he allowed one run over five innings in a 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins.

Ponce de Leon is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four career games (three starts) against Milwaukee.

St. Louis is looking for more production from shortstop Paul DeJong, who struck out with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning in Saturday’s loss. DeJong is 0-for-20 with 11 strikeouts since hitting two home runs in the second game of the season.

Milwaukee placed second baseman Kolten Wong on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain on Saturday and recalled utilityman Jace Peterson from the team’s alternate training site.

Peterson started at second on Saturday and batted seventh, going hitless in three at-bats. Counsell said Hiura also could see time at second during Wong’s absence.

–Field Level Media

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