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Brewers-Cardinals Preview

4/12/2007

After a bounce-back road trip, the St. Louis Cardinals try for their first win of the season at Busch Stadium when they take on the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

St. Louis (5-4) was swept at home in three games by the New York Mets to open the season. The Cardinals were outscored 20-2 during that series, but rebounded during the ensuing road swing against Houston and Pittsburgh.

St. Louis took two of three from the Astros, then completed a sweep of the Pirates with a 3-2 win Wednesday. Pinch hitting in the ninth inning for So Taguchi, who was 3-for-3 with two doubles, Chris Duncan homered to lift St. Louis to the victory.

The Cardinals scored just three runs in each of the wins over the Pirates, but the pitching staff recorded a 1.20 ERA during the series, compared to 5.33 against the Mets.

"We're doing a little bit on offense, we're pitching well, we're defending well," manager Tony La Russa said. "Just like when we lost three in a row, that didn't mean we were a bad ballclub, and getting above .500 doesn't mean we're a juggernaut, either."

St. Louis will look to continue its run of strong pitching Friday behind Anthony Reyes (0-1, 5.40 ERA), who allowed three runs and five hits in five innings of a 5-1 loss to Houston on Saturday.

"I thought it was OK," Reyes said. "I could have been better. I left a couple of pitches up and they hit them. It's just something to learn from and work off of for the next game."

The 25-year-old right-hander is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA in five appearances -- four starts -- against the Brewers. He was 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA in three starts against them last season.

The Cardinals were 9-7 against Milwaukee in 2006, with six of the wins coming at Busch Stadium.

The Brewers (5-4) come to St. Louis after taking two of three from Florida, with both wins officially coming Wednesday. The 3-2 victory in the first contest was a continuation of Tuesday's game, which was suspended with the score tied at 2 after 10 innings and three rain delays that totaled 1 hour, 42 minutes. That game was picked up where it left off Wednesday under new league rules, and Prince Fielder hit an RBI single in the 13th inning for the winning run.

Fielder had three singles, a double and three walks to reach base seven times in the game, tying the team record set by Kevin Reimer, who was 6-for-6 with a walk against Oakland on Aug. 24, 1993.

Rickie Weeks, who scored the go-ahead run on Fielder's single, was 2-for-4 with a homer, a triple and three runs in the second contest as the Brewers won 5-2.

"I kind of got warmed up in the first game and then started taking it real seriously in the second game," Weeks said.

Milwaukee's Ben Sheets (1-1, 3.60) will be looking to regain the form he displayed in his first start after giving up five runs and nine hits in six innings of a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

"I'll sharpen up," said Sheets, who threw a two-hitter for a 7-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day April 2. "I'm pretty confident in that."

Sheets hasn't been very sharp in his career thus far against the Cardinals, going 4-13 with a 4.04 ERA in 21 starts. He's lost his last five decisions against them.

Brewers outfielder Geoff Jenkins is 4-for-9 with three homers and four RBIs against Reyes.