for this game

Jackson, Cards edge Brewers in opener

Aug 31, 2011 - 4:23 AM Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Edwin Jackson threw seven strong innings and singled in a run, helping the Cardinals build a slim lead they maintained for a 2-1 victory over the Brewers.

Milwaukee put the potential tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the ninth, but Fernando Salas got out of the situation to secure St. Louis' second consecutive win.

The contest was the opener of a three-game series between the NL Central's top two teams, but the result didn't change much. The Brewers still lead the division by 9 1/2 games.

Jackson (4-2) allowed a run on six hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out three during his start.

"Jackson was outstanding," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "He threw a lot more breaking balls. He really pitched today. He had a nice fastball and a nice slider."

Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum (11-5) was about as good, giving up two unearned runs on four hits and three walks.

But the Brewers went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position to take the loss. They were coming off a three-game sweep of the Cubs, during which they scored 14 runs.

In particular, Milwaukee's middle of the order failed to produce. The top two hitters in the Brewers' order -- Corey Hart and Nyjer Morgan -- went 5-for-8. But the next three hitters -- Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee -- were 0-for-10 with two walks.

Neither team had a tremendous scoring chance until the fifth, when errors helped St. Louis load the bases.

Skip Schumaker reached on an error by first baseman Fielder, and an error by second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. allowed Rafael Furcal to get on base. Yadier Molina followed with a single before Jackson knocked in a run with a line single to right field.

Jon Jay's sacrifice fly made it a 2-0 game, and then it was a matter of holding on.

Milwaukee had a good scoring chance in the sixth, when Hart and Morgan led off with back-to-back doubles. However, Braun grounded out, Fielder struck out and McGehee flied out.

The Cardinals stranded the bases loaded in the ninth, seemingly giving the Brewers an opening to tie the game in the bottom half.

Marc Rzepczynski walked Fielder to start the inning, and Salas' walk of McGehee increased Milwaukee's chances of plating at least the tying run.

Yuniesky Betancourt bunted to try to advance the runners, but first baseman Albert Pujols raced in to field the ball and get the force out at third.

"If you're figuring out how great a player Albert is, look at how great his defense was tonight," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

St. Louis was unable to complete the double play during that plate appearance, but got one on the next play.

Pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay grounded to second to start a 4-6-3 double play, ending the game.

Game Notes

Salas recorded his 23rd save...Jackson has won consecutive starts for the first time since St. Louis acquired him in July...Marcum is 0-2 in his last two starts, despite allowing only two earned runs in 13 innings.