Brewers sweep Cards in three-game series

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina adjusts his mask as the Brewers' Mat Gamel celebrates with teammates Ryan Braun, right, and Prince Fielder after hitting a three-run home run during the third inning Monday at Busch Stadium. (TOM GANNAM ~ Associated Press)

St. Louis lost 8-4 and fell three games behind first-place Milwaukee.

ST. LOUIS -- Braden Looper carried a two-hitter into the seventh inning to beat his former team, Mat Gamel hit a three-run homer in his first career start and the Milwaukee Brewers completed a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with an 8-4 victory Monday night.

Jason Kendall became the eighth full-time catcher to reach 2,000 hits for the Brewers, who have won 12 of 14 overall and 10 of 11 over the Cardinals the last two seasons. They won their sixth in a row and are a major league-best 20-5 since a 4-9 start.

Kyle Lohse (3-3) struggled with control on two days' rest after working two innings in Friday's rainout, trailing 4-0 after four innings while throwing 89 pitches. Colby Rasmus and Skip Schumaker hit two-run homers in the seventh for St. Louis, which totaled two runs in the first two games in the series.

The Cardinals converted Looper (4-2) to a starter in 2007 and he settled for a free-agent deal with Milwaukee after going 12-14 last year. Rasmus' third homer of the season came after first baseman Prince Fielder's fielding error to start the seventh and represented St. Louis' first earned run off the right-hander in 23 career innings over 17 appearances, the first 16 in relief.

Looper, though 62-60 for his career, is 21-13 with a 3.52 ERA at Busch Stadium.

Cardinals pitchers combined for 11 walks. Fielder had an RBI single and walked four times for the second time in his career, the first also came in St. Louis on April 15, 2008.

Gamel was recalled from Class AAA Nashville on Thursday. He had one at-bat this season before getting the start at third base ahead of Bill Hall, 1-for-15 against Lohse. He homered into the Cardinals' bullpen in right on a 1-2 pitch to cap a four-run third.

Kendall singled up the middle off Lohse with one out in the second for his milestone hit and added an RBI single in the fifth for his second straight two-hit game. He's 47 hits behind Johnny Bench for seventh on the list among players with at least 1,000 games as a catcher.

Lohse has allowed 17 runs in 14 1/3 innings in his last three starts after going 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA in April.


* The Cardinals started three rookie OFs -- Nick Stavinoha in left field, Rasmus in enter field and Shane Robinson in right field -- for the first time since Sept. 25, 1996, against the Pirates.

* Khalil Greene struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth and is in a 2-for-23 slump.

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