(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Brewers have gotten a first-hand look this year at just how dominating St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright can be. Looking to play the role of spoiler, the team gets a chance this afternoon to deal the All-Star right-hander his first loss at home this season.
Milwaukee will try to solve Wainwright and stretch St. Louis' losing streak to a season high-tying four straight games today in the finale of a two-game set at Busch Stadium.
The Brewers handed the Cardinals a disheartening 3-2 setback on Tuesday night, getting all three unearned runs in the third inning after a Felipe Lopez fielding error. Prince Fielder hit into a double play right after the miscue that plated a run before Casey McGehee drilled a two-run homer.
Starting pitcher Dave Bush did his part for Milwaukee, allowing just four hits -- one a solo homer by Albert Pujols -- over six innings before exiting due to a blister on his right index finger. Though the Cardinals got to within a run in the eighth on a John Axford wild pitch, the closer recorded the final five outs to notch his 18th save.
"It's nice to be able to stick it to a team that's up there in our league right now," Axford said.
While Milwaukee won for just the third time in eight games, St. Louis dropped its third in a row, one shy of a season-worst four-game slide posted from June 6-9. The Cardinals fell two games back of Cincinnati for first place in the National League Central and 1 1/2 back of the Wild Card spot.
St. Louis hurler Jaime Garcia took the loss even though he gave up just the three unearned runs over six frames.
"I thought he was in some of his best form," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Garcia. "I think he was outstanding."
La Russa has seen Wainwright in top form all year, and he hopes his hurler can keep it up tonight. Wainwright's 17 wins are tied with Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez for most in the majors and he leads all of baseball with a 1.99 earned run average.
The 28-year-old has won three straight starts and seven of his past eight decisions. He carries a 21-inning scoreless streak into this outing and followed a two-hit shutout of the Marlins on Aug. 6 with seven innings of two- hit ball Wednesday versus the Reds, a victory that had put the Cardinals into first place in the standings.
Wainwright, who is 11-0 with a 1.22 ERA in 12 starts at home this year, has won both of his starts versus the Brewers this year, allowing just a run over 18 innings while striking out 17.
Fielder and Ryan Braun are a combined 0-for-14 with five strikeouts versus Wainwright this year, while Corey Hart has the lone RBI off him with a solo homer.
Drawing the tough task of opposing Wainwright is left-hander Randy Wolf, who has won back-to-back starts and has pitched to a 3.16 ERA in four outings since allowing 12 runs in a setback to the Pirates on July 21.
Wolf beat Arizona on Thursday even though he gave up four runs, seven hits and four walks over six innings, fanning eight while improving to 9-9 with a 4.86 ERA.
Wolf, who turns 34 on Sunday, beat the Cardinals on July 1 with 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball and is 4-6 with a 3.64 ERA in his career versus them.
He won't have to face Colby Rasmus, as the St. Louis outfielder is expected to be out of the starting lineup for a second game in a row due to a strained right calf. Rasmus did pinch-hit in last night's contest.
The Cardinals have won 15 of their last 25 versus the Brewers, though the clubs have split eight meetings this year at Busch Stadium.