MILWAUKEE — Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill homered as the St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th straight game, extending their lead for the second NL wild card spot and beating the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers 10-2 Wednesday night at American Family Field.
Goldschmidt also doubled, singled and scored four runs to help St. Louis stretch its best winning streak since an 11-game string in 2001.
The Cardinals’ longest winning streak in franchise history is 14, in 1935 with a team led by Hall of Famer pitcher Dizzy Dean.
St. Louis was 8½ games out of a wild card spot on Aug. 10 before surging. They now lead by 4½ games over Cincinnati and Philadelphia for the final NL playoff slot.
“We grow from the previous days. We grew from today, we’ll get after it tomorrow,” manager Mike Shildt said. “One of the biggest things this team does is just stay present, so it’s just about staying present, keep playing, getting after it.”
The Brewers, whose magic number to clinch the NL Central stayed at three, lead the Cardinals by 8½ games.
“We’re still sitting in a really nice spot. That has not changed. We’ve got to take advantage of it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We hit a bump in the road, and that still leaves us in a pretty good darn spot.”
The Brewers clinched their fourth straight playoff berth on Sept. 18, but have since lost four straight, including three to the Cardinals. They have scored a total of only five runs in the three games against St. Louis.
Miles Mikolas (2-2), who missed all of 2020 with an injured right shoulder and a considerable part of this season with forearm tightness, gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings. It was his longest outing of the season.
St. Louis scored six runs before Milwaukee starter Brett Anderson (4-9) departed with two outs in the second inning. He faced 13 batters, giving up six hits, including a home run and three consecutive doubles.
The left-hander was reinstated from the 10-day injured list to make the start. He had exited his previous start after two innings after being hit by a line drive and suffering a bruised left shoulder.
“Physically, I felt fine. Just command, it took off and wasn’t able to make a pitch to get out of the second inning,” Anderson said.
O’Neill’s 29th home run gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first. Tommy Edman hit a sacrifice fly in the second that drove in two runs — runners were able to score from third and second after center fielder Lorenzo Cain crashed into the wall as he made the catch and fell to the ground.
Goldschmidt hit a 433-foot home run, his 27th, off Hunter Strickland in the eighth. The Cardinals got 15 hits, including two each by O’Neill, Nolan Arenado, Edmundo Sosa, Dylan Carlson and Harrison Bader.
Mikolas retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced. He made his eighth start of the season and his seventh since being activated Aug. 20.
The 33-year-old right-hander, a 2018 All-Star, pitched 5⅔ shutout innings in his last start, a win over the Padres.
Avisaíl García hit his 29th home run of the season off Mikolas in the seventh.
Jace Peterson, who started the game at first base, pitched a scoreless ninth for Milwaukee.
Cardinals: Right-hander Jack Flaherty will start the second game of Friday’s doubleheader in Chicago against the Cubs, Shildt said. Flaherty went on the 10-day IL (right shoulder strain) on Aug. 25. ... Arenado left the game in the fifth inning with lower back tightness. In the second, he made an underhand catch of a popup before flopping onto the roll of tarpaulin in foul territory in left field to retire Omar Narváez.
The four-game series ends Thursday afternoon with Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (16-7, 2.89 ERA) facing Brewers righty Adrian Houser (9-6, 3.43). The 40-year-old Wainwright, who has pitched 196⅓ innings, won five straight starts until a no-decision in his last outing. Houser struck out seven and gave up three hits in a complete-game shutout in his last start against the Cardinals, on Sept. 4.
Smashing success: Brewers keep setting franchise records — and they're not done yet
Victories in a season
Record: 96 (2018, 2011)
No team in franchise history has ever won 100 games in a season but the Brewers are on pace to hit that mark this season which would also give the 2021 team the franchise record for best single-season winning percentage, topping the mark of .593 set in 2011.
Road winning percentage
Record: .588 (1982)
Again, this record is almost certain to fall. The Brewers go into their five-game interleague road trip with a .657 road winning percentage in 2021 and would need to go 1-11 in their remaining road contests to finish behind the '82 squad.
Earned Runs Allowed / Earned Run Average
Record: 532/3.36 (1971)
Technically, the 2020 Brewers hold the record for fewest earned runs allowed in a season with 239, but that came during a 60-game season so we're not counting it here. Same with the second-place 1981 team, which held opponents to 428 earned runs in a strike-shortened 109-game season.
The fewest earned runs allowed in a full regular season was 532, set in 1971. Heading into their off-day Monday, the 2021 Brewers were tied with the 1971 team for the best staff ERA in franchise history.
Through 144 games, the Brewers have allowed an average of 3.33 runs per game. If they keep that pace, they'll finish with with 540 but with a couple more performances like this past weekend and the 2021 squad could move into the top spot.
That, in turn, would help the current team's chances of catching the 1971 Brewers record for best full-season ERA.
The Brewers are also in position to break the franchise record for fewest hits allowed in a season (1,259 in 2018) and most strikeouts (1,497 in 2019). Milwaukee's pitchers have allowed 1,017 hits while striking out 1,439 batters so far this season.
Individual pitching records
The Brewers' pitching staff is also on the verge of shattering several individual records this season.
After holding Cleveland scoreless over eight no-hit innings Saturday, Corbin Burnes' ERA dropped to 2.25 for the season, good for second in the National League behind the Dodgers' Max Scherzer and within striking distance of Mike Caldwell's 2.36 ERA in 1978 that stands as the best ever by a Brewers starter.
Brandon Woodruff is also in the mix for both the NL lead and the Brewers' all-time record. He brings a 2.48 ERA into his scheduled start Tuesday at Detroit.