(Sports Network) - A pair of 14-game winners go head-to-head tonight in the opener of a three-game series between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse has won 15 games in a season just once in his career back in 2008, his first season with St. Louis. He has won 14 games on four separate occasions and is currently riding a 14-game unbeaten streak, going 8-0 with a 2.64 earned run average over 92 innings.
Lohse, a right-hander, struggled in a no-decision last time out in a 10-9 win at Washington on Saturday and allowed eight runs -- five earned -- in 5 2/3 innings. He is 14-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 28 starts this season and beat Milwaukee with six scoreless innings in a 3-0 triumph on Aug. 5. Lohse is 6-8 with a 4.53 ERA in 21 career games (19 starts) against the Brewers. He has been impressive at home in 2012, going 7-1 in 13 starts.
Gallardo, meanwhile, has won at least 13 games in four straight years and is 14-8 with a 3.79 ERA through 28 starts. Much like Lohse, Gallardo also is on an unbeaten tear as evidenced by his 6-0 mark and 3.04 ERA in his previous seven trips to the mound -- all Milwaukee victories.
The right-hander did not factor in the outcome of a 12-8 over Pittsburgh on Sunday and was hammered for seven runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Gallardo, who is 6-5 in 12 road assignments, has lost both of his starts against the Cardinals this season and is just 1-9 with a 7.05 ERA in 13 career starts in this series.
Milwaukee is not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet, sitting seven games off one of the two final Wild Card spot. The Brewers just split a four-game series at Miami to open a seven-game trek and dropped a 6-2 decision on Thursday from Marlins Park. Marco Estrada pitched the first five innings and was tagged for four runs and seven hits.
"I wasn't making my pitches," Estrada said. "Even when I did, they got hit. Any time you fall behind any good hitters, they're going to hit your good pitches."
Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun had an RBI apiece for the Brewers, who had two straight and 13-of-16 games. Braun is now one RBI shy of his fifth straight 100-RBI season.
St. Louis is in control of one of the last two postseason spots in the National League, but hasn't been playing like a playoff contender.
The Cardinals were aiming for a three-game sweep of the New York Mets in the Gateway City, before dropping a 6-2 contest in Wednesday's finale. Adam Wainwright didn't have his best stuff and yielded five runs and eight hits in five innings of work. He did add a home run at the plate.
"Two games in a row I couldn't put guys away," Wainwright said.
Daniel Descalso had two hits and a run scored, as the Cardinals lost for the sixth time in nine tries and have a 1 1/2-game lead over Pittsburgh and Los Angeles in the Wild Card standings.
Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday was out of the starting lineup to rest his lower back and could return this evening. He is batting .305 with 25 homers and 92 RBI this season.
St. Louis is 8-4 against Milwaukee this season, going 5-1 at Busch Stadium.