The NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals continue to inch closer to their first division crown in four years.
Facing the Milwaukee Brewers' Yovani Gallardo isn't likely to slow them down.The Cardinals try to hit Gallardo hard again Saturday night when they play the second of three at Miller Park.Matt Adams went 3 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs and Carlos Beltran drove in two runs, delivering a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the 10th inning of Friday's wild 7-6 victory."Getting taken into extra innings isn't what we were looking for, but what a win," manager Mike Matheny said. "That would be a pretty tough one to eat when you have the two-run lead (in the ninth). It was just a great, great win."Winner in 10 of 14, St. Louis (90-64) sits two games ahead of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the division with eight to play."That says a lot about this club the way we responded. It was a huge win and we needed that one," Matt Carpenter said. "Every game is crucial."The Cardinals have to like their chances of keeping things going against Gallardo (11-9, 4.29 ERA), who has had an especially rough time in the series over the course of his career. The right-hander has gone 1-10 in 16 starts while compiling a 6.78 ERA, his highest mark against any team he has faced more than once.Gallardo is 0-6 with an even uglier 9.31 ERA in his last eight outings versus St. Louis. David Freese and Jon Jay are a combined 16 for 39 (.410) with three homers in their matchups since 2011, and Matt Holliday is 5 for his last 18 with three homers of his own.Gallardo had gone 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA during a five-start stretch overall before giving up five runs in six innings Sunday in a 6-5 walkoff win over Cincinnati."To be really honest, I had no clue where the ball was going," he told MLB's official website. "It wasn't easy. You never want to go out there feeling that way."The Cardinals counter with Lance Lynn (13-10, 4.18), who is seeking his first win since Aug. 4. The right-hander was 0-5 with a 6.88 ERA in his previous six outings before posting a 1.46 mark in his last two.After allowing one unearned run and striking out 10 over six innings in a 5-1 victory over Milwaukee on Sept. 11, Lynn threw 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball in Monday's 6-2 loss at Colorado."Lynn was as good as we've seen him throw," Matheny said. "He had good, late, heavy movement with his fastball and was good with his secondary pitches."Lynn is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five career starts in the series. Aramis Ramirez is 2 for 16 against him, and Jonathan Lucroy and Juan Francisco are a combined 2 for 18.Ramirez, who was 3 for 4 with a homer and five RBIs on Friday, is batting .405 with seven homers and 22 RBIs over a 20-game stretch versus St. Louis dating to last year.The Cardinals' Matt Holliday, 11 for 17 with a homer, seven RBIs and six runs over the last four days, is hitting .340 with four homers and 13 RBIs in his last 13 in the series.St. Louis has taken 13 of 17 from the Brewers this season, including seven of eight in Milwaukee while averaging 6.9 runs.