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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, September 9th (All times eastern)

Milwaukee Brewers (69-70) at St. Louis Cardinals (74-65), 2:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Milwaukee - Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.53) St. Louis - Joe Kelly (5-6, 3.54)

(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers when the two NL Central foes collide today in the finale of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals have lost three in a row and eight of their last 11 games, including the first two tests of this series. In Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Brewers, Adron Chambers, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso each drove in a run and starting pitcher Jake Westbrook gave up three runs on seven hits and walked four over five innings.

"Just erratic in my mechanics," Westbrook said. "I wasn't doing a very good job of controlling counts.

St. Louis will close out a six-game homestand (2-3) Sunday and will open a seven-game trek against San Diego and Los Angeles on Monday.

The Cardinals and Atlanta Braves currently occupy the last two wild card berths in the NL, but the Cardinals are only one-half game ahead of the Dodgers and 1 1/2 games in front of Pittsburgh in the standings.

Rookie Joe Kelly will take the mound for St. Louis today and he is 5-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) this season. Kelly is 4-2 in his previous six decisions and 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts against Milwaukee.

The Brewers are hoping to make a playoff push and sit five games off one of the final two wild card spots.

Milwaukee has won 15 of its last 19 games, and improved to 4-2 on a seven-game road trip with Saturday's win over the Cardinals. Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez each hit solo homers, while Carlos Gomez had two hits and a pair of RBI.

Mike Fiers allowed one run on five hits with three walks and struck out five over five innings to pick up his third win in four starts.

"Pitching, that's how you win games," Ramirez said. "When you pitch, you're going to win a lot of ball games."

The Brewers, who will return to Miller park for a six-game homestand versus the Braves and Mets, are slated to send Shaun Marcum to the mound today.

Marcum is 5-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 16 starts and 0-1 in his last four trips to the mound. He last took the hill in an 8-4 win at Miami on Tuesday and did not record a decision, as he gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Marcum, a right-hander, is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals.

St. Louis is 8-6 against Milwaukee this season, going 5-3 at Busch Stadium.

09/09 10:40:17 ET