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Brewers keep calm after getting swept by Cardinals

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Despite getting swept in a three-game series by the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers know they still have a big lead in the NL Central.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Despite getting swept in a three-game series by the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers know they still have a big lead in the NL Central.

Albert Pujols hit a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, and went 4-for-4 as the Cardinals beat the Brewers 8-4 to pull within 7 ½ games of Milwaukee. The Brewers have 24 games left and the Cardinals have 25 remaining.

"Seven and a half is still plenty good," said Corey Hart, who hit his 23rd home run in the third inning. "I felt like we played extremely well (most of the year). This is the first series in a while when we didn't play as we should have. You're going to get beat by good teams when you don't play well."

Prince Fielder also homered for Milwaukee, hitting his 30th homer in the eighth inning to cap the game's scoring. It was the big first baseman's fifth consecutive season with at least 30 homers, a franchise record.

Starter Yovani Gallardo (15-9) had little control on his fastball and gave up a pair of solo home runs to Rafael Furcal and Pujols in the first inning.

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Pujols came into the game batting just .189 against the Brewers this year, but homered in the first and again in the third.

The second one was the 12th grand slam of his career and it gave the Cardinals a 6-0 lead.

"It wasn't easy," Pujols said. "These guys are playing pretty well in their ballpark. Taking three games out of three is awesome."

The Brewers scored three runs in the bottom of the inning off St. Louis starter Brandon Dickson on home runs by Jonathan Lucroy and Hart, and had two runners on in the fourth with Lucroy up again as the tying run.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, though, pulled Dickson, who was making his first major-league start. He replaced him with veteran Octavio Dotel (1-2), who struck out Lucroy and Gallardo to end the Milwaukee threat.

"Once Dotel came in, he really threw the ball well," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.

"We didn't touch him. Dotel was the guy who shut us down." Matt Holliday then hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth to make it 8-3.

Dotel pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up one hit and one walk while striking out five.

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Gallardo gave up eight runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out eight. Roenicke said the right-hander looked good while warming in the bullpen.

"We always feel good with Yo coming in and throwing a game," Roenicke said. "He has a chance to stop a good offense, which we thought he was going to do.

"It's always disappointing when you have high expectations from your guys and they don't perform up to what you feel they're going to do," he said. "I thought he had a real nice curve ball at times, but his fastball, he just missed a lot with it."

CREW CUTS: Pranksters on the Brewers made two crime scene body outlines where Ryan Braun twice fell flat on his face after rounding third, hustling for a potential inside-the-park home run in Tuesday night's loss. Both times, he awkwardly got up, staggered a few steps and then hit the dirt again. After a brief rundown, Cardinals third baseman David Freese tagged Braun out. ... Hart's home run extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

Related Topics: BASEBALL
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