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Sun, Apr 14, 2013 - 2:15 PM ET
 

Brewers-Cardinals Preview

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While the St. Louis Cardinals continue to surge behind some stellar pitching, the Milwaukee Brewers' struggles at the plate remain a big reason for their rough start.

The Cardinals have not shut out four straight opponents in a single season in almost 70 years but have that chance Sunday against the visiting Brewers, who were last blanked in three consecutive games in 1972.

St. Louis (7-4) has outscored Cincinnati and Milwaukee 25-1 during its four-game winning streak, and its pitchers have thrown 32 straight scoreless innings during that run. Though the Cardinals' last string of four straight shutouts spanned the last two games of the 1962 season and first three of 1963, they have not done so in the same season since July 6-11, 1943.

"I said it in the beginning of the season, this league doesn't really know what kind of arms we have,'' said St. Louis' Adam Wainwright, who tossed a four-hitter and struck out 12 while also recording three hits with two RBIs in Saturday's 8-0 win. "We have some great arms. The world is seeing that.''

Next up is left-hander Jaime Garcia (1-0, 2.92 ERA), who allowed three runs and struck out 10 in 6 2-3 innings of St. Louis' last loss, 13-4 to the Reds on Monday.

Including the postseason, Garcia is 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 11 starts against the Brewers (2-8). At home, however, he's posted a 1.36 ERA in six.

Minus injured sluggers Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee has scored three runs during a three-game slide and been held to six hits in this series. The only time the Brewers were shut out in three straight games was May 3-6, 1972.

"When things don't go your way, it's always just `Here we go again,''' said second baseman Rickie Weeks, who is 1 for 22 with 13 strikeouts in the last five games. "We are going to keep our heads up, that's what we do around here.''

Dating to a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, the Brewers have failed to score in 25 straight innings. They've also struck out 30 times and walked four times over the last three contests.

"We need guys on base,'' said manager Ron Roenicke, whose team has one homer in its last six games. "We're not putting any pressure on anybody.''

Milwaukee star Ryan Braun, who missed time with neck spasms, is 0 for 7 with six strikeouts in the series.

"You can see on some of the swings, he's not his usual self,'' said Roenicke, who believes Braun is not quite 100 percent.

After Yovani Gallardo was tagged for six runs in 5 1-3 innings Saturday, the Brewers send Marco Estrada (1-0, 4.50) to the mound in the finale. He allowed a two-run homer and four other hits in seven innings of a 7-4 win at Chicago on Monday.

"As long as I don't leave balls up, I should be OK," he said.

Estrada is 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA as a starter against the Cardinals, with both coming at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis' Matt Holliday, who drove in a pair of runs Saturday, is 5 for 10 with two doubles versus Estrada.

Batting .333 in his last six games, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is 6 for 11 with a homer against the right-hander.

Tagged: Brewers, Cardinals, Marco Estrada

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