Milwaukee Brewers (60-49) at St. Louis Cardinals (57-50), 8:15 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Adam Wainwright is still the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals with John Lackey now in the fold.
The Cardinals bolstered their rotation by acquiring Lackey from the Boston Red Sox Thursday to join forces with Wainwright, who gets the start Friday in the opener of an important three-game series versus the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cardinals also added starter Justin Masterson from Cleveland on Wednesday.
Wainwright, though, had to see two of his teammates head to the Red Sox, as starting pitcher Joe Kelly and infielder Allen Craig departed the Gateway City and left a playoff run behind them. Wainwright will try to become the majors' first 14-game winner Friday and is 13-5 with a 1.92 earned run average.
The right-hander and NL Cy Young candidate threw seven scoreless innings in a tight 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sunday, rebounding from a rough outing on July 22 versus Tampa Bay in which he allowed six runs, four of which were earned. All Wainwright needed was a solo home run from Matt Holliday in the first inning.
Wainwright is 5-2 in his last seven decisions and 9-3 in 13 road assignments. He has won three straight starts on the road, allowing only two runs in that time. The right-hander has held the opposition scoreless in 10 of his 21 starts and has thrown at least seven innings in 17 of them.
In 20 career starts against the Brewers, Wainwright is 10-6 with a 2.19 ERA and defeated them on July 12 at Miller Park with seven innings of two-run ball in a 10-2 victory.
The Cardinals salvaged the finale of a three-game series at San Diego with Thursday's 6-2 win behind a strong start from Shelby Miller, who held the Padres to a pair of runs and three hits in six innings. Two of the three hits were homers in the second inning. He struck out five and did not walk a batter to even his mark at 8-8.
"A couple solo homers got (Miller) on the edge a little bit, then he stepped in and started making some really nice pitches," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
Kevin Siegrist, Pat Neshek and Trevor Rosenthal each threw a scoreless inning of relief to preserve the win.
Oscar Taveras hit a two-run homer and Matt Holliday added two RBI as St. Louis finished 3-3 on a six-game road trip and will play the next six games at home versus Milwaukee and Boston.
The Cardinals are two games behind the Brewers for the NL Central lead.
Milwaukee avoided a sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks with Wednesday's 5-0 victory at Chase Field. Martin Maldonado delivered at the plate with three hits and four RBI, while Aramis Ramirez drove in a run.
Yovani Gallardo was the star of the show for the Brewers with seven shutout innings and five strikeouts to move over the .500 mark (6-5). Gallardo earned his 87th career win, surpassing Ben Sheets for sole possession of fifth all- time in Brewers history.
The Brewers had lost each of Gallardo's last six starts.
"Gallardo was good, he was really good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Milwaukee, which won for the sixth time in the past 10 tries, made a move before Thursday's trade deadline and acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra from the D-backs in exchange for prospects. The Brewers will send Double-A outfielder Mitch Haniger and Single-A pitcher Anthony Banda to Arizona for Parra, a two-time National League Gold Glove award winner who is hitting .259 with six home runs and 30 RBI in 104 games this season.
"The addition of Parra gives us a veteran player who helps to balance our lineup and also brings Gold Glove defense," said Brewers general manager Doug Melvin.
Brewers starting pitcher Wily Peralta will try to join the 13-win club when he takes the mound Friday. Peralta has a 12-6 record and 3.56 earned run average in 21 starts, and has been dominant in winning his last three starts, allowing a total of three runs in that time.
In a 5-2 win versus the New York Mets on Saturday, Peralta gave up both runs in 5 2/3 innings and scattered six hits. He did walk three batters and issued 13 in the past six trips to the mound. The right-hander is a sizzling 8-1 in his last nine decisions.
Peralta is 5-2 in nine road starts this season and 3-3 with a 4.98 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals. He has won both of his starts against them this season, allowing two runs (1 earned) in 13 1/3 innings.
St. Louis is 5-4 against Milwaukee this season after going 14-5 in this rivalry a season ago.