for this game

Fast start gets Brewers past Cardinals

Jul 18, 2012 - 10:58 PM Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Corey Hart hit a two-run single during a four-run first inning Wednesday and the Milwaukee Brewers held on for a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Francisco Rodriguez escaped trouble for the second straight day since being named closer, giving up a run in the ninth inning before pitching out of a bases-loaded jam for his third save.

The Brewers squeezed out one-run victories in each of the last two games to win the three-game series.

"Frankie got in a little bit of trouble," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, "but that's five out of six days (pitching) for him. I'm sure he's about worn out."

Tyler Thornburg threw 4 2/3 innings in his second career start, but former closer John Axford (3-6) earned the win with 1 1/3 innings of relief.

Thornburg, who was seeking his first career win, gave up five hits, including solo homers to David Freese and Allen Craig, and struck out five with four walks.

He started in place of Zack Greinke, who was skipped in the rotation after the rare feat of starting three straight games for the Brewers before and after the All-Star break.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (7-10) was a hard-luck loser after striking out nine, walking none and giving up just four hits in seven innings. Three of the runs charged to him in a sloppy first inning were unearned.

The Brewers played without reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun, who left Tuesday's game with a groin strain.

They had just two hits against Wainwright in their four-run first, including Hart's two-run single. Nyjer Morgan, who also singled, scored on the play.

The inning included fielding and throwing errors by Rafael Furcal -- the latter scoring two runs when the shortstop threw wide of first base on Carlos Gomez's grounder deep in the hole with two outs.

"There's been some weird stuff happening (to me this season)," said Wainwright. "All you can do is try to make the next pitch. You can't really control what goes on behind you or anything else. You just have to make your next pitch and trust your defense. Really, I felt in command of the game most of the time."

Freese crushed his 14th homer into the left-center field seats leading off the second inning and Craig belted a two-out blast to left in the third, also his 14th of the season.

Thornburg has allowed six home runs in his two career starts and seven in his three major league appearances.

"A couple of home runs have been on bad pitches," said Thornburg. "When I was getting behind I was taking a little bit off and the location wasn't there as I was aiming the ball. When hitters up here are looking for a fastball and they get it, they jump on it."

Wainwright gave up two more hits before he was relieved by Trevor Rosenthal to start the eighth. Rosenthal, in his major league debut, put the first two runners on but didn't give up a run.

Rodriguez, in a 35-pitch ninth inning, gave up a double to Carlos Beltran and walked Furcal, Craig and Freese to force in a run with two outs. But Lance Berkman flied out to end the game.

Game Notes

The Cardinals are 5-4 in the season series. The NL Central rivals will play six more times...The Cardinals went 1-5 on a six-game road trip. They will play seven straight at home starting with a three-game series against the Cubs...The Brewers beat Wainwright on April 7 -- the righty's first start since 2010 after he missed all of last season because of elbow surgery...The Brewers went 4-2 on a six-game homestand and are headed out for six in a row on the road against the Reds and Phillies.