MILWAUKEE — Michael Wacha effectively cooled off NL MVP Christian Yelich, and the St. Louis Cardinals finally broke through against the reigning Central Division champs.
Wacha slowed Yelich and pitched six solid innings, Matt Carpenter and Marcell Ozuna each homered, and the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Wednesday to avoid being swept at Miller Park.
Yelich came in batting .556 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in the series, but he was 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a walk against Wacha. Yelich did single in a run in the eighth off Andrew Miller.
The Cardinals’ plan was to work the inside part of the plate against Yelich.
“We didn’t control that part of the plate for most of this series, but (Wacha) did today,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell thought one pitch in particular clicked for Wacha.
“His cutter was a good pitch for him today,” Counsell said. “He kept us off balance pretty good.”
Wacha (1-0) bounced back after a tough start Thursday against the Dodgers. He struck out seven Brewers, allowing two runs and five hits to improve to 6-0 in his career against Milwaukee.
“Michael Wacha was the art of pitching today,” Shildt said. “He came out, established his fastball and established his secondary pitches. He had a great changeup today, and he threw it in appropriately. Just real good balance and timing.”
Jordan Hicks pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes (0-2) got beat by the long ball again. He surrendered three home runs in each of his first three starts, then coughed up two more against St. Louis. He’s allowed a major league-most 11 on the season.
Ozuna went deep in the second and Carpenter in the fourth. It was Ozuna’s fourth consecutive game with a homer and his eighth overall.
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The Brewers had won nine of 10 against St. Louis, including four in a row, but two RBI singles by Matt Weiters and one apiece by Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong helped snap that streak. DeJong went 4-for-5.
Burnes struggled through 3⅓ innings, allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out three in his shortest start of the season.
“The fastball wasn’t located very well today,” Counsell said. “Lot of stuff over the middle. That’s going to get hit.”
Wilkerson goes deep
Reliever Aaron Wilkerson, recalled from Class AAA San Antonio on Tuesday, spoiled Wacha’s bid for a shutout in the fifth with a two-run homer, his first major league hit.
“I wasn’t expecting to hit,” Wilkerson said after borrowing and then getting to keep right-hander Zach Davies’ bat. “I’m pretty sure my eyes were closed when I swung the bat. I really didn’t feel it. I heard it. Sounded good. It was surreal.”
He also got the ball.
From the infirmary
Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain got the day off and Ben Gamel started in his place. ... Reliever Jeremy Jeffress, reinstated from the 10-day injured list (right shoulder injury) on Tuesday, made his first 2019 appearance in the eighth.
Davies (2-0, 1.53 ERA) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a four-game series Thursday at Miller Park. He beat them 4-1 at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, allowing one run over seven innings.
The Dodgers will counter with left-hander Julio Urías (0-1, 5.27). Urías also faced the Brewers last week in L.A., taking the loss while allowing five earned runs in five innings.