Brewers-Cardinals Preview

With the trade deadline passed, the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals can focus solely on the competitive NL Central race.

While the Cardinals will have to wait to see their major acquisitions in action, the first-place Brewers will likely have new outfielder Gerardo Parra available Friday night for the opener of a three-game series in St. Louis.

Milwaukee (60-49) acquired Parra from Arizona before Thursday's deadline for a pair of minor leaguers. The two-time Gold Glove winner is batting .259 - 25 points lower than his career average - but is hitting .429 against right-handers since July 23 and .271 overall.

Parra could split time with Khris Davis, who is batting .232 against right-handers.

"The addition of Parra gives us a veteran player who helps to balance our lineup and also brings Gold Glove defense," general manager Doug Melvin told MLB's official website.

With righty Adam Wainwright set to start for St. Louis, the Brewers could put Parra in the lineup as they try to pad their lead over the Cardinals (57-50) and Pittsburgh.

Wainwright (13-5, 1.92 ERA) is coming off his third scoreless effort in five starts, a 1-0 win at the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. He gave up five hits over seven innings after allowing six runs in 4 2-3 innings in a 7-2 loss to Tampa Bay on July 22.

"I don't think that's much of a reach when you're talking about one of the best pitchers in the game," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's been so consistent. When you have those days, I guess that's a reminder of how hard it is to do what he does at the level that he does it."

Wainwright, who will be joined in the rotation by new acquisitions John Lackey and Justin Masterson, permitted two runs over seven innings in his only start against Milwaukee this season - a 10-2 victory July 12. He's 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in the previous four matchups and has 28 strikeouts with no walks over 30 1-3 innings.

St. Louis, losers in six of nine, is returning home after denying San Diego a three-game sweep with a 6-2 victory Thursday. The Cardinals will try to avoid a season-worst fourth consecutive defeat at Busch Stadium, while Milwaukee is looking to avoid its ninth in 12 road games and fifth in the last seven overall.

Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta (12-6, 3.56), set to make his first road start since July 2, is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his last three outings. He gave up two runs in 5 2-3 innings in a 5-2 win over the New York Mets on Saturday.

Peralta began the stretch with an 11-2 victory over St. Louis, giving up one unearned run and three hits in seven innings for his third consecutive win over the Cardinals.

He has a 1.96 ERA in the last three matchups and yielded one run over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-1 home win April 16. Peralta, however, is 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA in two career starts in St. Louis, the most recent a 4-2 loss Sept. 10.

The Brewers are 4-5 against the Cardinals this season but took two of three in their only other visit to Busch from April 28-30.

Aramis Ramirez played just one game in that series after getting hit by a pitch on his left elbow by Pat Neshek. He's batted .392 with eight homers and 28 RBIs in his last 28 games against St. Louis, and has hit .380 with seven doubles and two homers lifetime against Wainwright.

The Brewers scratched Scooter Gennett from their lineup because of a finger injury on his left hand.

Jhonny Peralta is batting .400 with four homers in 14 career matchups with Milwaukee and has three of those longballs this season. He's 2 for 6 against Wily Peralta.

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