MILWAUKEE (AP) — Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig hit towering home runs in St. Louis' six-run second inning, and the Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6 on Wednesday.
Matt Holliday also homered and Shane Robinson had three hits for the Cardinals, who are slightly behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the tight NL Central race.
After taking a one-run lead in the first inning on a double by Craig, the Cardinals went ahead 7-0 in the second off Brewers starter Tom Gorzelanny (3-5). Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook hit a bases-loaded double into the left-center field gap that scored two runs. He entered the game hitting only .167 with two RBIs this season.
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.
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 Westbrook.
Kevin Siegrist struck out pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi with the bases loaded to end the inning. Siegrist (2-1) recorded two outs to notch the victory. Four Cardinals relievers held the Brewers to one run over the final 5 1-3 innings to preserve the win.
Holliday's solo home run in the ninth extended the lead to 8-5.
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.
Westbrook 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. In his previous start on Aug. 16, when he threw a career-high 124 pitches, Westbrook gave up six earned runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Gorzelanny surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Khris Davis had a career-best three hits for Milwaukee.
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. ... 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.