- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The little things added up enough to cost the St. Louis Cardinals an opportunity to extend their lead in the NL Central.

Instead, John Lackey (2-2) was nicked for six runs and nine hits in six innings as St. Louis snapped a six-game winning streak with a 6-2 loss to Milwaukee on Friday night, enabling the Brewers to end a nine-game skid and pull within three games of the Cardinals.

“Kind of a weird one tonight,” said Lackey, who struck out six and walked one. “Felt like I threw a lot better than the linescore. I felt like I had good stuff. They got a couple big hits and then kind of had a little bad luck to start a couple of those innings. It happens.”

The Cardinals also could not solve Mike Fiers (5-2), who gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings to improve to 5-1 in six starts since being called up from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 9. Fiers, who has half of the Brewers’ 10 wins in 28 games since then, struck out five and walked one.

“(Fiers) threw the ball well,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. “He kept his guys there. We had a couple chances, had some guys on base but didn’t make the most of it. He pitched well.”

Milwaukee moved one game ahead of Atlanta for the NL’s second wild-card spot. The Braves lost 11-3 at Miami.

The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the third on Scooter Gennett’s two-run single. Milwaukee doubled the lead in the fifth on Gennett’s RBI double and Jonathan Lucroy’s run-scoring single. Fiers helped his own cause in each inning with a sacrifice bunt.

“A couple big two-out hits there, they put together,” said Matheny. “They manufactured, they got the bunt down ended up turning into a couple runs. They did the little things right. A couple things we didn’t do.”

Jhonny Peralta snapped an 0-for-10 streak and cut the lead to 4-1 in the sixth with his 19th home run, but Khris Davis answered in the bottom of the inning with his team-best 22nd homer to make it 6-1.

“You look at the two run homer, didn’t see the pitch again but it looked like it caught a lot of the plate,” said Matheny. “But, if that doesn’t happen we are in a 4-2 game and it would be a typical John Lackey start. The home run really kind of put it out of reach for him.”

St. Louis added a run in the seventh on a double by Peter Bourjos and a two-out pinch-hit infield single by Oscar Tavares that deflected off the glove of first baseman Overbay.

Lackey also lamented his inability to execute a sacrifice in a two-hit third inning.

“Cost myself a run there, not getting the bunt down. It would have been nice to score the first run for sure,” Lackey said. “I think I had three infield singles that scored. Their pitcher getting down the bunt was huge for them for the first two runs. It was a weird one.”

The Cardinals have two games remaining in the series at Miller Park, then host the Brewers for three games beginning Sept. 16.

“I liked how we came out, I thought the energy again was good,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “When you lose this many ballgames, sometimes as much as you want to come out and still fight and still have good energy, it’s difficult. These guys have done a good job with that and hopefully moving forward, we’ll continue to play the type of game we played the last two days and we’ll see what happens.”


Scooter Gennett stole second with one out in the third, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny challenged the call, which was overturned after a review that lasted an estimated 52 seconds. St. Louis is now is 8-16 in 24 challenges.


Brewers: CF Carlos Gomez, expected to miss a week a more with a sprained left wrist, is progressing faster than anticipated. Gomez, who has not started the last five games since injuring his wrist on a swing against San Francisco on Sunday. He took light batting practice in the cage before Friday’s game, although he did not swing all-out. Gomez, who pinch ran Thursday, went into center field in the ninth inning on Friday as a defensive replacement.

Gennett, who missed several games in August with a right quad muscle injury, left the game in the seventh inning with what Roenicke called a little tightness.


Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun returned from paternity leave after missing two games for the birth of his daughter, Celine Elysse. Braun went 1 for 4 with a single in the seventh inning.


Cardinals: Lance Lynn (14-8, 2.85 ERA) is 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA in six games at Miller Park, including five starts. With a win, he will join Max Scherzer as the only two pitchers with 15 victories in each of the last three seasons.

Brewers: Kyle Lohse (12-8, 3.68 ERA) gave up seven runs on nine hits in 5 2-3 innings in his last start, a 15-5 loss to San Francisco. In two starts this season against St. Louis, Lohse is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA, allowing 10 earned runs in 10 innings.

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