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Brewers, Cardinals battle leg-up at NL Central

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Reuters

Reuters

The stakes are high in the National League Central Division starting this weekend when the Milwaukee Brewers visit the St. Louis Cardinals for a three-game series. The Cardinals cut their lead against Milwaukee to half his game after his 8-6 loss to the Rockies in Denver on Thursday.

St. Louis is 10-3 in his last 13 games, including his three-game sweep over the New York Yankees last weekend. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol wants his team to stay focused ahead of a long-awaited series with the Brewers.

"I don't believe in big series," Marmol said. "This was a big series. The Yankees were a big series. This is no exception. Milwaukee is coming to town. Our goal is to beat them." After sweeping a short two-game set against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, he's in good form.

Milwaukee shortstop Willie Adams hopes his team can keep that momentum going in the series this weekend.

"Of course, this month and a half of him is going to play against really good teams. I know he has to get better," he said, Adames. "That's what we're trying to do now. We're going to go to St. Louis and try to play at the highest level and win the series." 326 (15-46) in 16 games with 5 homers and 8 RBIs. This month he is 3-5.

The Brewers will send lefty Eric Lauer (8-3, 3.59 ERA) to the mound in the series opener. He made his second consecutive start on August 5, allowing one run in seven innings against the Cincinnati Reds.

The 27-year-old Lauer is 2-2 in his six career games with St. Louis (five starts) with a 6.93 ERA, and he has won one in his two games this season. It was 1 loss and an ERA of 5.73.

Nolan Arenado is hitting a home run in his 17-for-5. Lauer has had a 2.65 ERA in his nine starts at Family Field, compared to a 4.47 in his 11 games on the road.

St. Louis will face lefty Jordan Montgomery (4-3, 3.53).

Montgomery, 29, was ejected on Saturday for precautionary reasons due to cramps after pitching his fifth scoreless inning in a 1-0 victory over the Yankees.

"It's hard to pitch against a team that just left. What he did was very special," Marmol said. "He was nine out on a ground ball. Really good job on Jordan."

Montgomery's game against Milwaukee is July 7, 2017, as a member of the Yankees. Not since he allowed two runs in 1/3 innings.

The Cardinals sparked from outfielder Lars Nutvaal, who has batted .348 (66-23) over the past 25 games.

His Nootbaar, who plays right field and he tied two walks when hitting leadoff Thursday, is also known for keeping things light during a long season.

"He's a gamer. He's just a great guy and a great human being," said Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson. "Honestly, just the people you need in the clubhouse."

– Field Level Media