Playoff berth sealed, Cards look to extend win streak

MLB Baseball

The streaking St. Louis Cardinals will bid for their 18th consecutive victory when they host the Milwaukee Brewers again Wednesday.

The Cardinals (88-69) defeated the Brewers 6-2 Tuesday in the opener a three-game series, a result that allowed St. Louis to clinch a berth in the National League wild-card game.

“We have a pretty good thing going right now,” Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright told Bally Sports Midwest after the victory. “We might as well keep it rolling.”

The Brewers (94-63), who clinched the NL Central title on Sunday, have lost six of their past nine games.

The Cardinals’ Wednesday starter will be Miles Mikolas (2-2, 4.15 ERA), who beat the Brewers in his most recent outing. He allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings with no walks and three strikeouts last Wednesday.

The team-record winning streak is energizing Mikolas.

“I love feeling a little bit of the pressure there like, ‘Hey, don’t drop the ball, don’t mess this up, we’ve got a really nice streak going here,'” Mikolas said. “I like having a little bit of pressure on me. I think a little bit of pressure brings out the best in most. I think it brings out the best in me, for sure.

“You make a little snowball on top of the mountain, you push it down, it just keeps picking up snow, getting bigger and bigger. I think that’s little bit of a metaphor for what we’re doing right now.”

Mikolas is 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA in eight career games against the Brewers, including seven starts.

Manny Pina (4-for-8, homer, three RBIs), Omar Narvaez (2-for-5, double) and Lorenzo Cain (5-for-16, two doubles, homer), Avisail Garcia (1-for-3, homer) and Luis Urias (1-for-3, RBI) have hit Mikolas well.

The Brewers will start Adrian Houser (9-6, 3.34 ERA). He pitched well Thursday against the Cardinals, allowing just one run on five hits over six innings in a no-decision. He fanned three and walked two.

“Adrian threw the ball exceptionally well,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I thought he did a very nice job against a lineup that’s very familiar with him.”

Houser is 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA in three starts against the Cardinals this season. He is 3-2 with a 2.62 ERA in 10 career outings against them, including seven starts.

Paul Goldschmidt (6-for-20, two homers, six RBIs), Yadier Molina (5-for-17, double, homer, three RBIs) and Dylan Carlson (3-for-9, triple) have done damage against Houser.

Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa (bruised wrist) is questionable for Wednesday. Catcher Yadier Molina (shoulder stiffness) was a late scratch from the lineup Tuesday and is also questionable.

Shortstop Willy Adames was a late scratch from the Brewers’ lineup Tuesday due to left quadriceps discomfort. That was the same muscle that landed Adames on the injured list for two weeks earlier this month, so Counsell said the Brewers held him out as a precaution.

The Brewers made a bullpen change for the series, placing right-hander Hunter Strickland on paternity leave and promoting left-hander Hoby Milner to replace him. Milner allowed two runs in two innings Tuesday.

Milwaukee first baseman Rowdy Tellez (right patellar strain) is scheduled to have a two-game rehab stint at Triple-A Nashville before coming off the 10-day IL for the final regular-season series, this weekend against the host Los Angeles Dodgers.

–Field Level Media

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