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Cards win eighth straight
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 4      3   Final
09/11/2002 11:05 pm ET 
 Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
 Cardinals 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 4 10 0
 Brewers 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 9 1
Cards win eighth straight
Win over Brewers gives St. Louis 6 1/2 game cushion
By Jared Hoffman / MLB.com

Ben Sheets looks away as Tino Martinez rounds third base after his solo homer in the third inning Wednesday. (Darren Hauck/AP)
MILWAUKEE -- Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh in with a bloop RBI single to right field as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-3 victory Wednesday at Miller Park.

The Cardinals extended their winning streak to a season-high eight games and moved 6 1/2 games ahead of the Astros in the NL Central as Houston lost to Colorado, 8-6.

Tino Martinez gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the second inning when he hit a towering drive down the left field line against Brewers starter Ben Sheets that just stayed inside the foul pole. It was Martinez's 18th homer of the season.

Cardinals starter Andy Benes was hurt by a leadoff walk to Jim Rushford in the third when Jorge Fabregas followed up with a double to the gap in right-center that tied the game, 1-1.

The Cardinals got Benes the lead right back though with a two-run fourth. Martinez started off the inning with a sharp single to right field. Edgar Renteria then doubled down the left-field line and all the way into the corner. Martinez beat the throw home to put the Cardinals ahead, 2-1, and Renteria advanced to third. He then scored on Mike Matheny's RBI single to increase St. Louis' lead to 3-1

The Brewers bounced back in their half of the fifth to tie the game once again. Jose Hernandez and Rushford had back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. Fabregas hit a fly ball to warning track that scored Hernandez from third and then Sheets moved Rushford up to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Eric Young then tied the game, 3-3, with a single to center.

Benes was pulled in the sixth after the moment of silence in memory of 9/11, and Jeff Fassero came on with runners at first and second and only one out. Fassero retired pinch-hitters Ryan Thompson and Robert Machado to end the inning. Benes allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. It was the first time in 11 starts he had allowed more than two earned runs in a game.

The Cardinals regained the lead for good in the seventh when Mike Matheny led off the inning with a triple to left-center on a ball Jeffrey Hammonds dove for and missed. The Brewers replaced Sheets with left-hander Ray King and Cairo put the Cardinals on top, 4-3, with a blooper into right field.

Fassero (7-6) picked up the win in relief and Jason Isringhausen pitched a scoreless ninth for his 29th save.

The Cardinals begin a four-game series against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Thursday.

Jared Hoffman is an editorial producer, based in St. Louis, for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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BOX SCORE
St Louis Cardinals 4, Milwaukee Brewers 3
St Louis Cardinals
BatterPosABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Vina2B 5010012.269
DrewRF 3000011.262
c-MarreroPH-RF 1010000.255
EdmondsCF 3010102.300
PujolsLF 4010012.313
Rolen3B 4000012.262
Martinez1B 4221000.266
RenteriaSS 3111100.303
MathenyC 3121101.237
BenesP 2000021.233
FasseroP 0000000.333
a-CruzPH 0000000.250
b-CairoPH 1011000.245
VeresP 0000000.333
KlineP 0000000.000
d-RobinsonPH 1000001.256
IsringhausenP 0000000.000
Totals3441043612
a-Batted for Fassero in the 7th. b-Singled for Cruz in the 7th. c-Singled for Drew in the 7th. d-Flied out for Kline in the 9th.
BATTING
2B: Renteria (32, Sheets).
3B: Matheny (1, Sheets).
HR: Martinez (18, 2nd inning off Sheets, 0 on, 1 out).
RBI: Martinez (67), Renteria (71), Matheny (31), Cairo (19).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Rolen.
GIDP: Drew, Edmonds.
Team LOB: 6.
BASERUNNING
CS: Matheny (3, 2nd base by Sheets/Fabregas).
FIELDING
Outfield assists: Pujols (Young at home).
DP: (Renteria-Vina-Martinez).
Pickoffs: Matheny (Stairs at 1st base).
 
Milwaukee Brewers
BatterPosABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Young2B 3021001.282
Belliard2B 1000001.222
Ginter3B 3000123.292
HammondsCF 4010001.267
Sexson1B 4010010.284
StairsLF 3010001.248
HernandezSS 3110102.287
RushfordRF 1210100.174
a-ThompsonPH-RF 2000002.237
FabregasC 1012000.195
b-MachadoPH-C 2000002.272
SheetsP 1000001.095
KingP 0000000.000
c-HarrisPH 1010000.319
1-HallPR 0000000.222
VizcainoP 0000000.000
DeJeanP 0000000.000
d-BakoPH 1000000.234
Totals303933314
a-Popped out for Rushford in the 6th. b-Grounded out for Fabregas in the 6th. c-Singled for King in the 7th. d-Grounded out for DeJean in the 9th.
1-Ran for Harris in the 7th.
BATTING
2B: Fabregas (3, Benes), Sexson (33, Benes).
RBI: Fabregas 2 (20), Young (28).
2-out RBI: Young.
S: Sheets.
SF: Fabregas.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Machado.
GIDP: Hernandez.
Team LOB: 6.
BASERUNNING
SB: Young (31, 2nd base off Benes/Matheny).
CS: Young (11, 2nd base by Benes/Matheny).
PO: Stairs (1st base by Matheny).
FIELDING
E: Sexson (6, fielding).
DP: 3 (Sexson 2, Belliard-Hernandez-Sexson).
St Louis Cardinals
PitcherIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Benes 5.17333203.30
Fassero (W, 7-6) 0.20000005.46
Veres (H, 14) 1.11000103.22
Kline (H, 18) 0.21000003.96
Isringhausen (S, 29) 1.00000002.39
Milwaukee Brewers
PitcherIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Sheets (L, 9-16) 6.08442514.41
King 1.02000002.82
Vizcaino 1.00000002.42
DeJean 1.00001103.41
Sheets pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

HBP: Stairs (by Benes).
Pitches-strikes: Benes 88-50, Fassero 10-7, Veres 19-14, Kline 9-4, Isringhausen 7-6, Sheets 100-63, King 15-10, Vizcaino 12-7, DeJean 20-15.
Ground outs-fly outs: Benes 5-6, Fassero 1-1, Veres 2-1, Kline 2-0, Isringhausen 1-2, Sheets 4-8, King 2-1, Vizcaino 1-2, DeJean 0-2.
Batters faced: Benes 24, Fassero 2, Veres 5, Kline 2, Isringhausen 3, Sheets 26, King 4, Vizcaino 3, DeJean 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Fassero 2-0, King 1-1.
Umpires: HP: Rob Drake. 1B: Alfonso Marquez. 2B: Tim Welke. 3B: Brian O'Nora.
Weather: 68 degrees, clear.
Wind: 0 mph, None.
T: 3:10.
Att: 16,907.

Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner