Cards push streak to 8

Thursday, September 12, 2002

MILWAUKEE -- Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo drove in the go-ahead run with a bloop single in the seventh inning, and the Cardinals extended their winning streak to eight by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 Wednesday night.

St. Louis opened a season-high 6 1/2-game lead over second-place Houston, in the NL Central. The Cardinals are on their longest winning streak since a nine-game stretch from Sept. 8-22 last year.

With the score 3-all in the seventh, Jeff Fassero (7-6) escaped a two-on, one-out jam created when Richie Sexson doubled off Andy Benes and Jose Hernandez walked.

After the 9:11 p.m. moment of silence and video tribute to the victims of last year's terrorist attacks, Fassero retired Ryan Thompson and Robert Machado on a groundout.

Mike Matheny tripled off Ben Sheets (9-16) leading off the bottom half and Cairo looped a single off into short right field against Ray King. Cairo's 17 pinch hits are second in the NL, three behind the Brewers' Lenny Harris.

Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances, completing a three-game sweep. The Cardinals' bullpen has gone 37 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

Sheets, who tied Tampa Bay's Tanyon Sturtze for the major league lead in losses, allowed four runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. Benes gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Tino Martinez homered in the second, but Jorge Fabregas tied it in the third with an RBI double.

Edgar Renteria's RBI double and Matheny's run-scoring single gave St. Louis a 3-1 lead in the fourth, but Milwaukee retired it an inning later on Jorge Fabregas' sacrifice fly and Eric Young's RBI single.

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