for this game

Lynn leads Cardinals into opener at Milwaukee

Jul 16, 2012 - 2:46 PM (Sports Network) - Early-season ace Lance Lynn tries to right the St. Louis ship tonight when the Cardinals visit Miller Park to open a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cardinals remain in the race for the top spot in the National League Central Division, but their status took a hit over the weekend when they dropped three straight games in Cincinnati to fall 4 1/2 games off the pace of the front-running Reds.

On Sunday, former Cardinal Scott Rolen, who played for St. Louis from 2002-07, slapped a tie-breaking, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the Reds to a 4-2 victory.

After St. Louis put the first two runners on in the top of the eighth but failed to score, the Reds took advantage of their opportunity in the bottom half.

Yadier Molina belted his career-high 15th homer of the season among his three hits.

Meanwhile, Lynn debuted with the Cardinals last season and split a pair of decisions with a save and a 3.12 earned run average across 34 2/3 innings of both starting and relief work.

He's been exclusively a starter in 2012 due to the shoulder injury to Chris Carpenter and has adjusted well, winning his 11th decision before the All-Star break after tossing six scoreless innings of four-hit ball in a July 5 triumph over Colorado.

The win ended a three-start drought for the right-hander, who had gone 0-2 with a no-decision and had allowed 17 runs in 15 1/3 innings against Detroit, Kansas City and Pittsburgh from June 19-30.

Lynn captured his lone career decision against Milwaukee in his season debut on April 8, allowing two hits and a run in 6 2/3 innings of a 9-3 win.

The Brewers call on fellow youngster Michael Fiers, a 2009 draft choice making the 11th appearance of his big-league career.

The 27-year-old pitched two innings in relief in two games last season and has started seven times in eight games this year -- most recently in a 4-0 loss to Miami on July 5.

In that game, Fiers allowed seven hits and two runs across 7 1/3 innings while walking one and striking out nine.

He fanned a career-high 10 batters a start earlier, while tossing six innings of scoreless, two-hit ball in a 10-2 defeat of Arizona.

Fiers has never faced the Cardinals.

On Sunday in Milwaukee, Yovani Gallardo struck out a career-high 14 batters, leading the Brewers to a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the finale of a three-game set.

Gallardo (8-6) allowed just one run on four hits over seven frames en route to his 17th career 10-strikeout game.

"It was a good game by (Gallardo), a real good game," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He was downhill with his fastball and had a lot of life on it. His curveballs were good, so was his cutter and his command. That's the type of game you get excited about when he throws like that."

Martin Maldonado went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI and Rickie Weeks doubled and knocked in a run for the Brewers, winners in three of their last four.

John Axford worked around a one-out base hit in the ninth to secure his 16th save of the season.

St. Louis won two of three games from the Brewers in an early April series in Milwaukee, then won two of another three matchups when the teams played at Busch Stadium later in the month.

Milwaukee last won the season series in 2010, 8-7.