MILWAUKEE -- Adam Wainwright said he never found his groove on the mound. He certainly seemed comfortable at the plate.
Wainwright hit one of four Cardinals homers and struck out a career-high nine in seven innings, lifting St. Louis to an 8-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
"I'm still not even hitting the Mendoza line," said Wainwright, who admitted he'd choose not to hit if he could. "But, I'm seeing the ball better."
Wainwright (5-2) lost a 1-0 decision on May 16 against Brewers starter Jeff Suppan despite giving up just two hits over eight innings. This time, the 27-year-old right-hander made sure the Cardinals scored at least one run and worked out of two bases-loaded jams. He scattered five hits and two walks.
"My arm was just not in a position to throw a baseball correctly tonight, but I just said I was going to fire it up there and let my defense work," Wainwright said.
With teams pitching around slugger Albert Pujols, who drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly in the third and a single in the eighth, St. Louis finally showed some pop from the rest of its lineup.
Stavinoha, Rasmus and Wainwright each hit a solo homer off Suppan. Duncan's two-run shot came in the sixth off reliever Seth McClung to make it 7-1 and marked the second time this year the Cardinals have hit four home runs in a game.
"Albert's not going to hit them every single day, though you think he's going to, so for the other guys to come through finally, it's big for us," said leadoff batter Skip Schumaker, who had three hits. "He's obviously the best player in baseball in my opinion, but for someone else to come through is a good thing for our offense. It's been a few weeks since that's happened."
St. Louis, which has lost 11 of its last 13 against the Brewers, is without Ryan Ludwick (hamstring) and Rick Ankiel (shoulder), but managed to move back into a tie for first in the NL Central with Milwaukee.
"It's a win against a really good team that we're battling for the top of the division in their park, so we'll take it," Wainwright said.
Stavinoha's homer was his first in the majors and opened the scoring in the second inning. Rasmus led off the fourth with a homer and Wainwright hit the fourth of his career with two outs in the inning.
The Cardinals chased Suppan (3-4) two batters later on Schumaker's RBI single that made it 5-1. Suppan had been 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA against his former team since joining the Brewers following the Cardinals' World Series title in 2006.
"Wainwright threw a great game and that's kind of how it went," Suppan said.
Wainwright's worst jam was in the third when he allowed a single, a walk and a hit batter with no outs. But he avoided the big inning by forcing Prince Fielder into a weak RBI groundout, getting Mike Cameron to pop out to shallow right and striking out slumping Corey Hart, who came in hitting .172 in his last 16 games.
"We went from having a pretty good threat going to within two pitches Wainwright [had] pretty much pitched out of that jam," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "He pitched out of that jam and took advantage of us being aggressive."
Pujols, who has one hit in his last eight at-bats, has walked 10 times in the last five games, but manager Tony La Russa said his presence looms large for the Cardinals' offense.
"Anybody who knows they've got Albert hitting behind them, they've got an advantage," La Russa said.
Cardinals SS Khalil Greene started for the first time since May 17 due to anxiety-related problems. He was 0 for 3 with two walks. ... Brewers LF Ryan Braun left before the fifth inning after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch in the third. Braun has a bruise. Macha said X-rays were negative, but Braun will be re-evaluated before Wednesday's series finale. ... Brewers SS J.J. Hardy (back spasms) missed his fourth game. ... Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo and RHP Dave Bush collided during batting practice trying to catch a ball hit to center field. Gallardo scraped his left arm and was bleeding, but said he was otherwise unhurt. Bush also said he was fine.