Aramis Ramirez had a home run among his three hits and drove in two runs and Jonathan Lucroy broke a close game open with a three-run double in the sixth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers opened a critical three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday with a 7-4 win at Busch Stadium.
Wily Peralta (13-6) improved to 3-0 this season against St. Louis allowing two runs on five hits in 6.2 innings, walking four and fanning three.
All seven Milwaukee runs were charged to All-Star Game starter Adam Wainwright (13-6), who gave up nine hits and walked three in 5.1 innings.
The Brewers (61-49) jumped on top in the second inning when Ramirez slugged a solo homer to left to lead off the inning. It was the first career home run ever surrendered by Wainwright on a 3-0 pitch. For Ramirez, it was his 13th home run of the season.
Ramirez was at it again in the top of the third. Lucroy stroked a one-out single up the middle and one out later, Ramirez lined a double to center to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead.
Milwaukee broke it wide open in the sixth.
Peralta sacrificed the runners along and Wainwright then plunked Gomez to load the bases.
Lucroy unloaded them, lining a double to right field and chasing Wainwright.
Right-hander Seth Maness came on and surrendered a bloop double to Braun that gave Milwaukee a 7-0 lead.
Things got dicey for reliever Zach Duke in the ninth, though. Sent in to protect a five-run lead, Duke walked two batters and then gave up a two-out triple to Carpenter that allowed St. Louis to close to within 7-4.
Ramirez had three of Milwaukee’s 12 hits. Lucroy, Braun, Segura and Herrera were all 2-for-4.
With the win, the Brewers knocked the Cardinals back to third place in the National League Central, three games behind Milwaukee. The Pittsburgh Pirates won in Arizona Friday night to remain 2½ games back.
Instead, right-hander Kyle Lohse (11-5, 3.07 ERA) gets the call. St. Louis will counter with right-hander Justin Masterson, who will be making his Cardinals debut after being acquired in a trade from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
Masterson was 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA for the Indians this season.