ST. LOUIS (AP) — Victor Caratini hit a three-run homer and Blake Perkins added a solo shot, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-0 victory on Thursday in the final game of a four-game series.
The Brewers’ magic number to clinch their second National League Central title in three years fell to three with nine games to play.
Milwaukee (87-66) could wrap up the division title as soon as Friday in Miami with another victory along with two Chicago Cubs losses. The number to just clinch a postseason berth is two over the Marlins.
The Brewers have won eight of their last 11 and 22 of their last 31 games.
St. Louis (67-86) fell to 20 games behind first-place Milwaukee in enduring its first losing season since 2007. The Cardinals have lost seven of their last 11 games.
Wade Miley (9-4) breezed through six scoreless innings, throwing 92 pitches. He gave up three hits and only one runner reached second base. He struck out seven and walked two while stranding five runners.
Miles Mikolas (7-13) pitched into the sixth inning, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and a walk. He had lost eight of his last nine decisions dating back to July 27.
Perkins led off the third inning with a home run to right field, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. It was the first home run for Perkins since June 17 at Pittsburgh. He returned to the club Sunday from the 10-day injured list. Perkins had been sidelined by an oblique injury since Aug. 11.
The Brewers extended their lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning. Right fielder Jordan Walker misjudged Brice Turang’s ball for a two-base error and followed it with a throwing error, allowing Turang to take third. One out later, Sal Frelick singled to left for the run.
Milwaukee chased Mikolas in the sixth. Willy Adames led off with a double followed by singles by Rowdy Tellez and Andruw Monasterio for a run. Caratini cleared the bases by drilling a 3-2 slider into the right field stands, making it 6-0. It was his first homer since Aug. 11.
RHP Devin Williams celebrated his 29th birthday on Thursday. The St. Louis native last pitched on Sunday against Washington and tossed a scoreless ninth inning. He has 35 saves this season.
Brewers: Christian Yelich (back) remains day-to-day. He has missed 11 of the last 12 games with his lone game played in that span being last Friday.
Cardinals: C Willson Contreras (left wrist discomfort) was not in the lineup Thursday and is listed as day-to-day. He had an MRI taken Thursday morning. He left Wednesday’s game in the sixth inning. … RHP Wilking Rodriguez (right shoulder) is scheduled to throw Saturday. He received an anti-inflammatory shot in his shoulder Wednesday to help with discomfort and swelling.
Brewers: RHP Corbin Burnes (9-8, 3.56) vs. Marlins’ TBA at Miami. Burnes will be making his 31st start of the season and first against the Marlins. Burns is looking for his first win since July 20 at Philadelphia, a span of 10 starts during which he is 0-3 with a 3.69 ERA.
Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (6-2, 5.12) vs. San Diego’s RHP Matt Waldron (1-3, 5.16). Hudson’s last start at Petco Park imploded to a 12-2 loss fueled by a seven-run second inning as his own throwing error opened up a two-out rally that culminated on back-to-back home runs by Manny Machado and Franmil Reyes.