MILWAUKEE -- Matt Carpenter continued to bruise Brewers pitching, and Mike Leake capped a terrific month of May in fitting fashion, as the Cardinals rolled to a 10-3 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday. The win sealed the Cardinals' 10th consecutive series victory at Miller Park.
The Cardinals ambushed scuffling Brewers starter Wily Peralta with four consecutive hits to open the game. That pushed across two runs, and Peralta would fail to finish six innings for the ninth time in his 11 season starts. Carpenter was a particular nuisance, as he notched his second straight four-hit game and scored four times. Three of his hits went for extra bases, including RBI triples in the seventh and eighth innings. He missed hitting for the cycle by a home run.
"When you feel good, you feel good," said Carpenter, who finished May with a .364 average and 1.062 OPS. "Hits come in bunches. I've had stretches this year where I've felt really good and was hitting balls right at people. Baseball has a funny way of working itself out, and I'm going through a good stretch right now." More >
Leake was stung by a Jonathan Lucroy second-inning homer that temporarily pulled the Brewers to within one, but limited much additional damage by holding Milwaukee to one hit (an RBI double by Ryan Braun) with runners in scoring position. The victory capped a stellar month for Leake, who posted a 2.31 ERA over his six May outings. The Cardinals won five of those games.
"He's been what we had hoped for, someone who would come in and give us a quality start," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Leake. "Someone who would give our team a chance."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Top-heavy: A day after the top three hitters in the Cardinals' lineup combined to go 9-for-15 with six runs scored, the same three tallied eight hits and scored five runs in Tuesday's win. Carpenter became the first Cardinals player since Bernard Gilkey in 1993 to notch four-hit games on consecutive days. He also scored a career-high four runs, including two on RBI singles by three-hole hitter Matt Holliday. Between the two, Aledmys Diaz posted his second straight multi-hit game and reached base three times.
"I know it's been a lot. I didn't know it's been that many," Carpenter said, after it was pointed out to him that the top third of the order had 17 hits in the first two games of the series. "It's been a good couple days. Hopefully we can finish it off tomorrow."
May I?: Lucroy capped off a torrid month at the plate on Tuesday by going 2-for-3 with a solo home run, double and two RBIs. To lead off the second inning, Lucroy took a 1-2 sinker up in the zone from Leake and deposited it into the Crew's bullpen. It was his ninth homer in May, second among all National League batters. On the current homestand, he is 9-for-17 with three dingers and 11 RBI.
"Luc's been consistent," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Obviously, he's driving the ball as well as we've seen him. He took some good swings tonight." More >
Freeze frame: Leake struck out only four in his six-inning start, but notched a key punchout of Aaron Hill to strand the potential tying run at third base in the fourth. Hill, who entered the game 4-for-15 in his career against Leake, showed some frustration with the called third strike by home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
Left wanting more: Before St. Louis blew the game open in the eighth inning against reliever David Goforth, the Brewers had chances in consecutive innings with runners on base to draw even or take the lead. Braun's one-out RBI double in the sixth inning brought the Brewers within one run at 3-2, but Lucroy and Chris Carter flied out to end the inning. Lucroy entered that at-bat 17-for-34 lifetime against Leake.
"He's got me figured out for now," Leake said. "It's my job to now figure him out."
"We were certainly in the game," Counsell said. "We didn't have a ton of opportunities to score tonight but we were certainly in the game."
"We know that the cutter/slider is his pitch. He threw a bunch of them to Yadi [Molina] in the at-bat before. I was looking for it - didn't completely sell out on it - but was looking for it and knew I wanted to get something up in the zone to drive to the outfield and get the run in." -- Jedd Gyorko, on connecting for a three-run, eighth-inning homer that put the game out of reach
"For some reason, they've been killing us. I think we have to step up and try to beat them. They, for some reason, feel comfortable when they come here and when we get there." -- Peralta on the Cardinals' dominance of the Brewers.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Before Carpenter, the last Cardinals player to hit two triples, one double and a single in the same game was Hall-of-Famer Stan Musial, who accomplished the feat on May 5, 1943.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW Jeremy Hazelbaker, who entered as a seventh-inning defensive replacement for the Cardinals, had a 452-foot home run taken away in the eighth after a one-minute, five-second review showed that it tailed just to the right of the right-field foul pole. Replay worked in his favor, however, later in the at-bat, as a second overturned call left him with an infield single. That came after first-base umpire Will Little, who had incorrectly signaled the home run, called Hazelbaker out on a bang-bang play at first. The call was reversed following a 55-second review.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: The Cardinals will wrap up their seven-game road swing with a 12:40 p.m. CT game at Miller Park on Wednesday. Jaime Garcia will draw the series-finale start against the Brewers, who were baffled by the lefty earlier this year. In a start against Milwaukee on April 14, Garcia twirled a one-hit shutout.
Brewers: A six-game homestand will come to an end with right-hander Zach Davies taking the mound for Wednesday's matinee contest. Davies took strides forward in May, giving up two or fewer earned runs in four out of five starts. The Brewers have dropped 24 of the last 31 games against St. Louis at home.