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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, July 11 (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (50-43) at Milwaukee Brewers (52-41), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Joe Kelly (1-1, 0.59) Milwaukee - Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.45)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Even a no-hit bid wasn't enough to shake the Milwaukee Brewers out of their current slump.

The Brewers try to avoid a sixth straight setback on Friday night when they begin a big three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

At the end of June it seemed as though Milwaukee would roll into the All- Star break leading the National League Central, but a season-high five-game slide and nine losses in its past 10 games has the club just two games up on St. Louis for the top spot in the division.

The Cincinnati Reds are just 2 1/2 games off the pace as well, with the Pittsburgh Pirates lurking a game further back in fourth place.

Aiming to salvage the finale of a four-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies, Matt Garza had a no-hitter broken up in the seventh inning and the Phils eventually plated seven runs in the eighth frame to secure a 9-1 win.

"I look at the final score and that's ridiculous," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "We are way too good of a team, way too good of a bullpen to let it get away like that."

Garza was perfect through four innings and carried a no-hitter into the seventh before Jimmy Rollins' leadoff single to right. Garza was charged with two runs on three hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Now Yovani Gallardo will try to snap Milwaukee out of this slump, but he brings a lifetime record of 1-11 with a 6.34 earned run average versus the Cardinals into this opener.

Gallardo is also winless in his past three starts and is coming off a no- decision versus Cincinnati on Sunday. The 28-year-old righty yielded two runs on eight hits over seven innings, striking out three without issuing a walk.

On the season, Gallardo is 5-5 with a 3.45 ERA.

The Cardinals are seeking to overtake the Brewers in the standings, but will have to do so without All-Star catcher Yadier Molina. He is slated to miss the next 8-to-12 weeks due to thumb surgery. He suffered the injury on Wednesday while sliding into third base.

Molina, who was voted to his sixth All-Star Game Sunday and fourth as a starter, is hitting .287 with seven homers and 30 RBI so far this season.

Tony Cruz is expected to handle duties behind the plate for the Cardinals, while Audry Perez will serve as the backup.

The Cardinals were aiming for a four-game sweep of the Pirates, but lost Thursday's finale 9-1.

Shelby Miller surrendered four runs on five hits and four walks over five frames for St. Louis, which had won six of its last eight coming in.

"Didn't do a good job of getting ahead in the count, fell behind a lot," Miller summarized.

Joe Kelly looks for better luck tonight as he makes his first start since April 16. He faced Milwaukee on that day and suffered a severe hamstring strain.

Kelly recently made three rehab starts and will try to boost the Cardinals' rotation. He went 1-1 in three starts this year prior to his injury, giving up three runs -- one earned -- over 15 1/3 innings for a 0.59 ERA.

The 26-year-old righty is 1-5 with a 4.17 ERA in nine lifetime meetings with the Brewers, including six starts.

St. Louis won 14 of 19 versus the Brewers last season, winning eight of 10 in Milwaukee, but the clubs have split six meetings in 2014.

07/11 10:52:35 ET