Ryan Braun doubled twice to leave him one hit short of 200 and drove in the tying run before scoring the go-ahead one in Milwaukee's six-run seventh inning of a 12-6 victory on Friday night.
"It was just a crazy game," Braun said. "That's why you continue to play hard, you continue to grind out at-bats, and it's true that you really never know what's going to happen.
"We're obviously not playing for anything so it's pretty cool that everybody continued to play hard."
Wainwright retired 15 in a row before consecutive one-out doubles by Craig Counsell and Braun cut the deficit to 6-1 in the sixth, and was pulled after allowing two singles to start the seventh.
"Yeah, I could taste it," Wainwright said. "That may be why the first two guys got on, I got a little ahead of myself there. We win that game 99 times out of 100."
Kyle McClellan (4-4) gave up Braun's tying, two-run double in the seventh before Jason Motte's wild pitch put Milwaukee ahead 7-6. Felipe Lopez and Craig Counsell also had two-run singles in the big inning.
"As hard as he's worked and fought and everything he's done, it's just a shame it came down to my lack of execution," McClellan said. "Just poor all around on my part. Then you watch the other innings and I feel responsible for that."
Wainwright tried his best to reassure the 24-year-old McClellan, a key member of the St. Louis bullpen.
"It's one of those things where it's cool to have the notch on the belt," Wainwright said. "What's more important is he realizes it was just one outing and he's going to have to be good for us in the playoffs if we want to do well."
Braden Looper (14-7) allowed six runs on 10 hits in six innings for Milwaukee, which ended a four-game losing streak.
"Obviously I'm not completely happy with the way I threw," Looper said. "But you'll take a win anytime you can get it."
The Brewers scored five more runs in an eighth inning that featured three hits, two errors, a hit batter, two walks and two wild pitches.
Wainwright struck out eight in six-plus innings for a three-game total of 29 in 21 innings, but appeared to tire six days after throwing 130 pitches in the clincher at Colorado last Saturday.
Wainwright led off the fourth with his first career triple and was driven in by Colby Rasmus for a 6-0 lead. The Cardinals also got RBI singles by Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick in the first inning and RBI doubles from Albert Pujols and Ludwick along with a run-scoring single by Yadier Molina in a three-run third.
Wainwright contributed his third two-hit game of the season and eighth of his career. Looper, who gave up his triple, was the last Cardinals pitcher to triple on Sept. 26, 2008 at home against the Reds.
A sellout crowd of 44,331 showed up for an Ozzie Smith bobblehead giveaway, also the Cardinals' first home game since clinching the NL Central last Saturday. ... Chris Carpenter, whose 2.24 ERA is the NL's best, will start Game 1 of St. Louis' division series with Wainwright working Game 2. ... The Brewers haven't announced a starter for Sunday's finale. Jeff Suppan threw in the bullpen Friday and could make his 30th start, giving the right-hander 11 straight years of 30-plus. ... Despite faltering, Wainwright was 3-1 with a 1.24 ERA against the Brewers this year. ... Looper is 3-0 against the Cardinals. ... Wainwright leads the NL with 233 innings. ... The Cardinals were the fourth team to throw five wild pitches in a game.