Cardinals-Brewers preview

MILWAUKEE — After putting three players on the disabled list in as many days, the St. Louis Cardinals suffered another bit of misfortune on Friday night when right-hander Michael Wacha, left fielder Matt Holliday and closer Trevor Rosenthal all were pulled early because of injuries in a 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Wacha's injury — suffered when he took a line drive to the right foot — isn't expected to be serious. Rosenthal and Holliday, however, are considered day to day after experiencing hamstring spasms and a stiff ankle, respectively.

Short-handed or not, the Cardinals aren't going to use injuries as an excuse as they continue their final series of the first half on Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee.

“We don't like it, but it's one of those things; you can't allow yourself to go down that road of feeling sorry for yourself or saying too much,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “You just have to keep playing. We have very good players who can jump in and make it happen.”

The Cardinals did get some good news, as shortstop Jhonny Peralta returned to pinch hit after missing the previous two games with a thumb injury. He came on in the ninth inning and drove a 96 mph fastball from Jeremy Jeffress to the base of the wall in center field to end the inning, but Matheny said it was an encouraging at-bat.

“You see him come off the bench, swing the bat like that against a guy throwing as hard as (Jeffress) was … that's a good sign,” Matheny said. “If things feel good tonight, you'll see him in there tomorrow.”

Carlos Martinez gets the start and looks to continue his run of success against the Brewers, posting a 2-1 record and 1.08 ERA in 16 career appearances. He jas been especially good at Miller Park, where he's 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 10 career appearances, including four starts.

Milwaukee will counter with right-hander Chase Anderson, who is trying to finish the first half on a high note. Anderson hasn't gotten through six innings in any of his last six four starts and hasn't made it through four in his last two, including his last time out when he walked five in 4 1/3 innings against the Cardinals on July 3.

Anderson only allowed three runs in that game but has given up 19 in his last 15 2/3 innings, bumping his ERA to 5.49.

The victory on Friday snapped a three-game losing streak to the Cardinals, who have won seven of the 10 meetings already this season.

“We certainly haven't done enough in all phases to beat them,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Against any of these better teams, you've got to do a lot right and we're just not doing enough against these guys.”

St. Louis' success against Milwaukee isn't limited to this season, either; the Cardinals 12-0-1 in the last 13 series between the NL Central rivals.

“I'm sure we're not the only team that struggles against the Cardinals,” Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said after the Cardinals finished a three-game sweep last weekend. “They're fundamentally sound. They don't make mistakes. They don't beat themselves.”