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Cardinals hold off Brewers, 8-6

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Tom Gorzelanny sustained a major setback in his bid to prove he is worthy of a long-term spot in the Milwaukee Brewers' starting rotation.

Gorzelanny got battered by St. Louis hitters in his second-shortest outing as a starter this season, and the Cardinals hung on to beat the Brewers 8-6 on Wednesday.

``You make mistakes and you pay for them, especially against good-hitting teams,'' Gorzelanny said. ``I left balls over the middle (and made) bad pitch selection.''

Gorzelanny (3-5) surrendered a season-high seven runs along with 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out five. Among his nine starts this season, the only one that was shorter came on Aug. 2 against Washington when he left after one inning after being struck by a line drive.

``He didn't command the ball that well early and then they also hit some pretty good pitches,'' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ``We know they are a good hitting club, and when you don't hit your spots, they are going to put a good swing on it. His stuff looked fine. It looked crisp. It just was when he missed, they didn't miss it.''

Roenicke said he is committed to keeping Gorzelanny in the rotation for now. But he offered no guarantee for the long term.

``I don't want to say I'm committed to it. (General Manager) Doug (Melvin) and I will talk,'' he said. ``Hopefully his next one he gets it going again. We need to get him going again.''

A subdued Gorzelanny said he would prefer to remain in the rotation.

``Pitching is important to me, no matter what, but I like being a starter,'' he said. ``It's something I've done most of my career.''

Gorzelanny insisted he won't place any more importance on his next start, even though it could be a make-or-break outing for his status in the rotation.

``Every start is important, no matter what part of the year it is,'' Gorzelanny said.

Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig hit towering home runs off Gorzelanny in a six-run second inning. Matt Holliday also homered later in the game, and Shane Robinson had three hits for the Cardinals, who remain close behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central race.

``Those are the ones you've got to find a way to win, when you put that kind of offensive production up early,'' St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.

After taking a one-run lead in the first inning on a double by Craig, the Cardinals torched Gorzelanny in the second. Following Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly, Beltran launched a two-run shot that caromed off the center-field scoreboard. With two out, Craig hit a solo homer to right-center.

``We are happy that we were able to win the series. That is basically what is important for us right now,'' Beltran said.

The Brewers cut into the lead in the third on a three-run homer by Aramis Ramirez, and then added two runs in the fifth.

Juan Francisco broke out of an 0-for-15 slump, during which he struck out 10 times, with a run-scoring single. Sean Halton drove in another run with a hit, cutting the deficit to 7-5 and chasing St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook, who gave up four earned runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.

He walked one and struck out one during a 75-pitch outing.

``Getting two quick outs in the fifth and not being able to finish it off is pretty frustrating for me,'' Westbrook said. ``The bullpen came in and picked me up and finished it off, and the offense was great.''

Kevin Siegrist struck out pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning. Siegrist (2-1) recorded two outs to notch the victory. Four relievers held the Brewers to one run over the final 5 1-3 innings to preserve the win.

Despite struggling on the mound, Westbrook made a key contribution at the plate. His bases-loaded double into the left-center field gap scored two runs and started the onslaught that led to a 7-0 lead.

Edward Mujica earned his 33rd save in 35 attempts despite giving up a long solo home run to Logan Schafer with one out in the ninth. Holliday's solo home run in the top half extended St. Louis' lead to 8-5.

Khris Davis had a career-best three hits for Milwaukee.

``He keeps showing he can hang in there. He works the count well, which I really like,'' Roenicke said. ``He's an aggressive swinger, but he's not a hacker.''

Davis said increased playing time has bolstered his performance.

``It's easier. You just get comfortable,'' he said. ``I've been working for this my whole life. Now that I'm here I just want to work at my own tempo, have a good time and do something to help the team win.''

NOTES: Milwaukee reliever Rob Wooten was placed on the paternity list. Wooten didn't make it back to North Carolina in time for the birth of his daughter. ``He walked into the room and (his wife) was holding the baby,'' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ``But everyone is fine.'' ... Pitcher Donovan Hand was recalled from Triple-A Nashville to replace Wooten. Hand was optioned back to Nashville immediately after the game, as was INF/OF Sean Halton. ... OF Norichika Aoki was held out of the lineup due to right knee soreness. ``It has been bugging him for a while. We aren't worried too much,'' Roenicke said. ... The Cardinals concluded a 12-game stretch against NL Central clubs. . St. Louis returns home to face the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. Milwaukee returns to action Friday at Cincinnati. . Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy hit his fifth triple of the season, the most in the majors among catchers.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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