Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.79 ERA) was fortunate his six-decision win streak wasn't snapped Sunday, when he gave up seven runs to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The Brewers won, 12-8, a reward for Gallardo after having been strong for so long.
In a six-start stretch from July 31 to Aug. 28, Gallardo went at least seven innings every time -- three times holding the opposition to one run -- while getting the win each time. In the final four starts of that stretch, he struck out a combined 35 batters in 28 2/3 innings.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke had one word after Gallardo downed the Cubs in the final game of that stretch, a 4-1 victory: "Outstanding."
St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse actually has a longer win streak going than Gallardo: eight straight decisions, stretching back all the way to June 26.
Lohse has been central to a Cardinals team trying to hold on to a Wild Card spot.
"We're not oblivious to the race," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "But we're also realizing that our energy needs to be focused on what we do. September baseball is fun to be a part of. But we have to control what we can control. We know that we have some good things going right now."
Lohse (14-2, 2.81 ERA) did match his season high for runs allowed against the Nationals on Saturday, letting in five, but the Cards won, 9-8. Overall, he's been great: In five August starts, Lohse allowed just two homers and five runs.
Gallardo hasn't faced the Cards since April, but they knocked him around plenty then. He gave up 14 runs in 5 2/3 innings spanning two starts.
Lohse's pair of starts against Milwaukee this season have gone better. He's 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA against the Brewers, including six innings of shutout ball in a 3-0 win on Aug. 5.
Brewers: Rotation decisions loom
The Brewers could go to a six-man rotation, but off-days on Sept. 13 and 17 make for a tough decision. Roenicke wants to get multiple starts for right-handers Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg, both recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, but how that will happen is to be seen.
Peralta started Wednesday in the place of Mark Rogers, who's done for the season.
"When we get back home, we have two days off that are going to kind of mess with that, going to a six-man rotation, so we're still trying to figure that out," Roenicke said.
Milwaukee was without third baseman Aramis Ramirez for Thursday's series finale against the Marlins. The cleanup hitter departed Wednesday's win after tweaking his lower back. Roenicke said Ramirez would be re-evaluated when the team travels to St. Louis.
"You always worry about those things, because they can be more than what the player thinks," Roenicke said. "He says, 'I don't think it's that bad, maybe just a day.' Sometimes it turns into a lot more than that."
Cardinals: Holliday, other regulars likely for Friday
Matt Holliday was out of the starting lineup for a 6-2 loss to the Mets on Wednesday, and combined with Thursday's off-day, that gives him two days to rest up his lower back.
The outfielder said Wednesday that his back was "fine," but Matheny said Holliday was scheduled to be off on Wednesday before the back issue arose. Holliday left Tuesday's game after drawing a seventh-inning walk because he felt discomfort on his way to first.
Yadier Molina, David Freese and Allen Craig all were out of the starting lineup Wednesday, but they should be back on Friday.
Friday night's game is Lumiere Casino Cardinals beverage cup set giveaway.
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is one RBI shy of his fifth consecutive 100-RBI season.