The Milwaukee Brewers were the hottest team in the majors two days ago. Then they ran into the Cardinals.
A strong start from Shelby Miller and offensive contributions from just about everyone in the lineup led the Cardinals to a 6-1 victory on Tuesday night, which followed a 4-0 victory on Monday.
The Brewers, who came into the series on a nine-game winning streak, have been limited to three hits in each of the first two games.
The Cardinals will go for their first sweep of the season Wednesday afternoon with first pitch set for 12:10 p.m. Joe Kelly will start against Wily Peralta.
— Allen Craig. Mr. RISP continued to emerge from his early-season 3-for-31 funk. In his second at-bat against right-hander Marco Estrada, Craig lined a run-scoring double to left-center for his first extra-base hit of the season. Moved to the two-hole after a few games of hitting sixth, Craig lofted a fly to the track in left field in the first inning which, including a solid single in his final at-bat on Monday, gave him well-struck balls in three consecutive at-bats. He’s not all the way back, though. In his fourth at-bat, he whiffed at what looked like ball four and ended up grounding out to the pitcher on the next pitch.
— Mark Ellis’ toughness. It didn’t take long for his right knee to be tested. In the first inning of his first game with the Cardinals, Ellis had to turn a tight double play with a hard-charging Carlos Gomez barreling into second. In the next inning, Ellis handled another tough play at second when Jonathan Lucroy tried to steal. Ellis was upended after making the tag but he hung on for the out. Ellis also drove in two runs in his first two at-bats, a groundout and sacrifice fly.
— Miller’s durability. Yes, this is nitpicking. Miller turned in an excellent performance — six innings, one run, seven strikeouts — but he might catch a little good-natured grief from his rotation mates for not working into the seventh inning. Miller is the only Cardinals starter who hasn’t made it past the sixth inning so far this season. He said in spring training that a focus for him this season would be working deeper into games. He wasn’t talking about lasting only six innings, either.
— Heads-up base running. After running into two outs on Monday night, the Cardinals made three more outs on the bases in the second game of the series. Jhonny Peralta was caught off third on a heads-up play by shortstop Jean Segura, Matt Adams was caught in no-man’s land when he took off for home on an infield grounder and Allen Craig was picked off second. The Craig play was mighty close but the Cardinals deemed not close enough to challenge.
— Peter Bourjos. He showed what his speed can bring to the Cardinals’ lineup over the weekend. But for his wheels to do damage, Bourjos needs to make contact. He struck out twice on Tuesday, and didn’t look very pretty doing so. He now has 13 strikeouts in 39 plate appearances for the season.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.