ST. LOUIS -- Though the Cardinals once again complicated matters with a defensive miscue, this time they minimized the mistakes and had Carlos Martinez to bail them out of a mess in order to even their series against the Brewers with a 2-1 win at Busch Stadium.
It took Martinez six starts to tally his first win of the season, and it took the Cardinals' offense six innings to get him a lead on Tuesday. Brewers starter Wily Peralta went toe to toe with Martinez until he allowed hits to two of the first three batters he faced in the sixth. Both scored under the watch of reliever Jacob Barnes, who allowed a sacrifice fly to Yadier Molina and RBI single to Kolten Wong.
"I just want to go out there and play the game as hard as a I can and try to do things right," said Wong, whose error and baserunning blunder a night earlier helped sink the Cards. "Obviously, there are going to be nights like I had last night, which you want to forget, and that's what I did. I accepted the fact that I had a bad night, forgot about it and did my job."
The Brewers tallied five of their six hits over the final three innings but were limited to Jett Bandy's run-scoring single off Martinez in the seventh. The offensive outage spoiled a solid start for Peralta, who matched his season high with seven strikeouts for the second straight start. He fell to 0-9 in his last 11 starts against St. Louis.
"You cannot think about your starts before. This is a new game," Peralta said. "I had it. I got the loss, but overall I think I was locating pretty good with all of my pitches. Martinez did a great job, too. He pitched better."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Perfect placement: For the second night in a row, Brewers reliever Barnes induced a ground ball off the bat of Wong that was just out of the reach of second baseman Jonathan Villar. Both turned into RBI singles. Wong's two-out hit in the sixth Tuesday capped the Cardinals' two-run inning. For Barnes, he allowed both inherited runners to score one day after coughing up an eighth-inning lead.
90 feet short: Bandy's two-out single halved the deficit in the seventh, but Milwaukee stranded the tying runner at third base in that inning and again in the eighth. A wild pitch and an error positioned the Brewers to tie the game in the seventh against Martinez, who kept things from unraveling further by getting Orlando Arcia to swing through a fastball to end a 27-pitch inning.
"I always save a little energy for the last inning, to make sure to go out with a bang," Martinez said of reaching 98 mph on that pitch to Arcia.
In the eighth, the Brewers were left with runners stranded on the corners again when lefty reliever Brett Cecil struck out Travis Shaw looking at a borderline 2-2 cutter. A night earlier, Shaw blasted the three-run homer that sealed Milwaukee's win.
"I've seen him a lot in the past; he was in the AL East the past couple of years with Toronto," said Shaw, who came to the Brewers in a trade with Boston. "I have a good idea what he wants to do to me, and I took two pretty good swings for the first two strikes, two foul balls. Then he made a good pitch, a borderline pitch. He got the call."
"Carlos was as good as we've seen him. That was complete-game shutout stuff. Just a big day. Their guy pitched well, too. It just kind of matched up. Carlos was everything we needed."
-- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Tuesday's loss snapped the Brewers' streak of 20 consecutive games in which they held a lead at some point. They were 12-8 in those games.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers:Chase Anderson's 2.10 ERA ranks sixth among qualified National League starters entering his scheduled outing Wednesday night in St. Louis. Anderson is a case study in the "wins are overrated" mantra; he is 0-2 in six career starts against the Cardinals despite a 1.97 ERA.
Cardinals: Weather permitting, the Cardinals will continue their series against Milwaukee with a 7:15 p.m. CT game Wednesday. Adam Wainwright will be looking to repeat the success he had against the Brewers last month when he hit a home run, drove in four and picked up his 15th career win against Milwaukee.