"Every time we've faced [Wainwright] he gets a little better," first baseman Corey Hart said. "His arm strength obviously is getting there and he has three solid pitches. He's got our number, and it's one of those things that the confidence is on his side."
The Brewers entered Saturday having collected double-digit hit totals in each of their last five games. They were limited to five on Saturday in a complete game by Wainwright, and lost their eighth straight road game while falling to 18-32 in road contests this season.
Carlos Gomez started off the game with a double to dead center that tipped of the glove of Jon Jay, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Braun for his 74th RBI of the season. From there, the Brewers collected four hits and struck out six times over the next eight innings.
"I came back up and looked at some of the pitches. They were painted," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "And it's got good life on it. I don't know if he's been throwing like that against everybody, but it was really good."
A night earlier, the Brewers had no trouble getting men on base, as they collected 12 hits in a 9-3 loss on Friday. It was getting those runners home that was the problem, going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
It was the opposite issue on Saturday with Wainwright dealing.
Milwaukee had just two runners reach second base after the first inning. With a man on first in the eighth, pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki singled to right, but was thrown out by Carlos Beltran trying to stretch it into a double.
"In the past, we've seen a lot of breaking balls really kind of be the difference makers," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Wainwright. "But I thought he was an artist with his fastball tonight. He was really painting both sides and getting strikeouts with it. You could tell he was really locked in."
For the second straight night, the Brewers got on the board first in St. Louis, and for the second consecutive game, one big inning by the Cardinals ultimately proved to be the difference.
Mark Rogers was in a deep hole by the third inning, just as a four-run fourth did in Randy Wolf on Friday. Aside from a Beltran solo homer in the second, Rogers didn't allow another hit in any inning but the third over his five-inning outing.
The Cardinals collected four hits -- including back-to-back doubles by Daniel Descalso and Wainwright -- in the four-run third inning. St. Louis collected three straight singles with one out, and Yadier Molina delivered a two-out, two-run single into left field to make it 5-1.
The 26-year-old Rogers made his second start of the season after having a solid outing against Washington on July 29.
"It's definitely a process, and I want to get there faster than sooner, and you just try to limit those innings," Rogers said. "If they score one, don't let them score two. And unfortunately tonight, I let them score more than two. It's tough on our offense when I put us in a hole like that."
Roenicke, however, felt the numbers were not indicative of the game Rogers pitched. Aside from Molina's two-run single and Beltran's homer, not many of the Cardinals hits were all that hard. Roenicke said the plan for now is for Rogers to maintain his role as a starter.
"When you start blooping balls in the way the way they were blooping them, that means you're throwing the ball well," Roenicke said. "You're hitting your spots, and they're not hitting them well. When things start going that way, the pitcher's doing his job."
Still, as Rogers put it, a hit's a hit. And considering how well Wainwright was throwing, each St. Louis hit dug the Brewers deeper and deeper.
"I needed to match him," Rogers said. "Obviously I didn't. That's part of the game. Hopefully I can do that next time."