ST. LOUIS — William Contreras homered and Tyrone Taylor scored twice and drove in a run as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3 on Tuesday night.
Milwaukee stopped a two-game skid and reduced its magic number to clinch the NL Central to six. The Brewers hold a six-game lead over the Chicago Cubs with 11 to play.
“I think we’ve been good handling ourselves, you know, on the field and like controlling our emotions and just try to keep things easy and small,” Milwaukee shortstop Willy Adames said. “So, I think we’ve been doing a great job about all that. So, we are really excited about it.”
Richie Palacios homered for the last-place Cardinals, who were eliminated from playoff contention.
Contreras’ solo homer in the third snapped a 16-inning scoring drought for Milwaukee.
“You can’t say enough about just the season William is having, how durable he’s been, the big hits,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s having a tremendous, tremendous season.”
The Brewers opened the fourth with four straight doubles. Adames, Josh Donaldson, Taylor and Sal Frelick all doubled and scored to give Milwaukee a 5-2 lead.
“The guys, that was the second time through the lineup, I think they felt more comfortable facing the pitcher and you know, they just got good pitches to hit and they had great at-bats,” Adames said. “It was fun.”
Taylor also walked twice and scored on Andruw Monasterio’s sacrifice fly in the eighth. Contreras scored on Adames’ single in the ninth to pad the Brewers’ lead.
Colin Rea (6-6), recalled Monday from Triple-A Nashville, allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings of relief. He allowed three hits, walked three and struck out two.
“I wasn’t particularly sharp tonight,” Rea said. “I think my command was a little spotty and my stuff just wasn’t quite there, but I thought we did kind of a good job of working around that. I had a few walks in there, which I don’t like, but we did a good job of limiting the baserunners as far as that goes.”
Trevor Megill served as the opener for the Brewers, giving up two runs in one inning. Hoby Milner, Abner Uribe, Joel Payamps and Andrew Chafin combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
Drew Rom (1-3) allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings as the Cardinals had their two-game winning streak snapped. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out three.
“I wonder if maybe I’m tipping a little bit or maybe they’re seeing something out of my hand that I need to work on,” Rom said. “Ultimately, I just need to make better pitches and execute my pitches better. Most everything they hit was down the middle for the most part.”
Alec Burleson doubled home Lars Nootbaar, stole third and scored on Nolan Arenado’s sacrifice fly to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead in the first. Palacios added a solo home run in the fifth.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
The win was No. 700 for Counsell, who is in his ninth season as Brewers manager. He has the most wins and most games managed (1,321) in franchise history.
“Offensively, a lot of guys did stuff,” Counsell said. “I think pitching-wise, a lot of guys contributed. So, just a good team win.”
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich (stiff back) missed his fourth straight game and 10th in the past 11, but showed enough improvement to avoid being placed on the injured list. He is day-to-day.
Cardinals: Burleson was replaced at first base by Luken Baker in the second inning after Burleson broke his left thumb sliding into third in the bottom of the first.
Brewers RHP Adrian Houser (6-4, 4.53 ERA) starts Wednesday night against Cardinals LHP Zack Thompson (5-6, 4.34).
Houser is 4-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 14 career games (11 starts) versus St. Louis, and the Brewers are 12-6 when he starts this season. Thompson will make his first career start against Milwaukee, but he is 3-0 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts this season against NL Central teams.