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Lynn, Cards snap Brewers’ 9-game winning streak

(Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez (27) strikes out during the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday at Miller Park. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

By Andrew Wagner

MILWAUKEE — Don’t be fooled by early-season records. The St. Louis Cardinals are still king of the hill in the National League Central.

The Cardinals came into Miller Park on Monday night to face the red-hot Brewers, and they quickly ended Milwaukee’s nine-game winning streak with a 4-0 victory behind an 11-strikeout effort from right-hander Lance Lynn.

Center fielder Jon Jay’s three-run homer in the sixth inning provided a cushion for Lynn, who held the Brewers to three hits and three walks in seven innings.

“He was making good pitches early on, and it looked like he had a little more life,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Lynn. “I think he also had a bit of urgency in his preparation for the first time through the order, and that played out really well for him.”

Lynn managed to avoid the early-inning struggles that often caused him problems in the past. Aside from a first-inning walk — erased by a double play — and a second-inning walk, he breezed through the first four innings and held a 1-0 lead thanks to a second-inning solo home run by shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

Lynn retired the first two batters in the fifth before walking second baseman Scooter Gennett and giving up a double to left fielder Logan Schafer. He got out of the inning by striking out Brewers starter Matt Garza — a career .094 hitter who is 0-for-6 at the plate this season.

“Schafer put a good at-bat on me right there,” Lynn said. “For him to get the barrel to that ball was a good swing by him, and (right fielder) Allen (Craig) made a good play down the line to get the ball quick so they didn’t score from first.

“The pitcher was next, he was aggressive early, so I threw some breaking balls and I made the pitch on 0-2 to get out of it. That was big for us.”

Even bigger was Jay’s three-run blast in the sixth.

Garza and the Brewers appeared to dodge a bullet when Matt Holliday was tagged out at home on first baseman Matt Adams’ double.

Milwaukee then retired Adams at third as he tried to advance on Craig’s fielder’s choice grounder to first baseman Lyle Overbay.

Peralta followed with a single, putting two on for Jay, who connected on a hanging slider for his first home run of the season.

“That was a huge home run,” Matheny said. “In an inning that looked like it could have turned the momentum around with the big play at the plate and then a different-looking play from first to third for a putout, that could have been a real turning point for the game, but Jon did a nice job of picking us back up.”

Up to that point, Garza was effective. He retired 10 of 12 St. Louis batters after Peralta’s home run.

“I could have had better stuff,” said Garza, who wound up allowing four runs in seven innings. “It could have ended a different way, but it is what it is. I just have to get ready for the next one.

“I left one ball hanging, and he deposited it in the seats. The worst thing is was it was just a big-time momentum shift right there. I felt like we had momentum after the play at home and the great plays on defense, and that was just like a backbreaker.

“We’re fine. We’ll come back and start a new thing tomorrow.”

Segura accounted for two of Milwaukee’s three hits. He singled in the first inning and doubled in the sixth. The Brewers’ offense, which was opportunistic during the winning streak, couldn’t get going against Lynn, who has allowed just one earned run in his last three starts against the Brewers (19 2/3 innings).

“Every time I’ve seen the guy, he’s tough,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “He’s a good pitcher.”

Cardinals reliever Carlos Martinez closed out the win with two scoreless innings.

CREW CUTS: The Cardinals went 14-5 against the Brewers last season, including 8-2 at Miller Park. ... Milwaukee was 4-0 in the first game of a series this season before the defeat against St. Louis. .... Monday marked the first time a Brewers starter gave up three or more earned runs since Sept. 15, 2013 — a span of 26 games. ... Cardinals 3B Matt Carpenter was ejected in the fifth inning by plate umpire Bob Davidson for arguing a called third strike. ... A Brewers fan was ejected for allegedly aiming a laser pointer at Cardinals LF Matt Holliday while Holliday was batting in the seventh inning.