ST. LOUIS (AP) — Matthew Liberatore tossed five shutout innings in his season debut and Paul DeJong homered to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.
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St. Louis has won eight of 10 after a 10-24 start to the season.
Milwaukee has dropped two of three following a three-game winning streak.
Nolan Arenado added a run-scoring hit for St. Louis, which remains in last place in the NL Central for the 22nd successive day after winning the division last season.
“My overall goal is being more consistent with everything,” Liberatore said. “I’ve done that so far this year and I’m planning on continuing that.”
Liberatore (1-0), a 23-year-old left-hander, gave up three hits in a 95-pitch stint. He struck out six and left after giving up a leadoff walk to Willy Adames to start the sixth.
Liberatore was recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Memphis. He was making his first big league appearance since Oct. 5, 2022, at Pittsburgh.
The native of Peoria, Arizona, took control early by retiring the first four hitters and never allowed more than one hit in any inning.
“That was something impressive,” St. Louis catcher Willson Contreras said. “He attacked the zone, he attacked the hitters. He worked ahead in the count. That was huge.”
Relievers Andre Pallante, Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley combined to nail down the seven-hit shutout. Helsley recorded the final four outs for his fifth save in eight chances.
Corbin Burnes (4-3) gave up three runs on eight hits over six innings in the loss.
DeJong hit a two-run homer off Burnes with two out in the sixth to push the lead to 3-0.
Arenado, who had homered in his previous five games, drove in the first run of the game with a single off the glove of third baseman Brian Anderson in the first. It was his 1,000th career RBI.
The Cardinals won their third straight series and are beginning to dig out after the rough start.
“Two out of three and winning the series, that’s kind of our M.O.” DeJong said. “It’s tough to sweep teams in this league. For us, it’s about grinding out these (close) games. Those are the ones we feel like we have to win.”
St. Louis has now homered in a season-high six games in a row.
Milwaukee outfielder Owen Miller extended his hitting streak to 10 games with three hits. Miller has reached base safely in a career-best 19 straight games.
Brewers outfielder Tyrone Taylor hit what was first called a home run with two out in the fourth. The ball hit the top of the wall and bounced back into play. The call was reversed and Taylor had a double.
The Brewers stranded a season-high 12 runners. They went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position in the game and were 2 for 21 in the series.
“We had some traffic in a lot of innings,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “That extra base hit with runners on base just didn’t happen.”
Brewers: LHP Wade Miley was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left lat suffered in the second inning of Tuesday’s 3-2 win at St. Louis. Recalled RHP Jake Cousins from Triple-A Nashville to take Miley’s place. OF Christian Yelich was given a second successive day off to rest his balky back.
Cardinals: Placed OF Dylan Carlson on the 10-day injury list retroactive to May 15. Selected the contract of OF Oscar Mercado from Triple-A Memphis. Carlson suffered a sprained ankle on Sunday in Boston.
Brewers: RHP Adrian Houser (0-0, 5.19) will open a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Friday. He is making his third start after beginning the season on the injured list with a right groin strain.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (0-0, 7.20) takes on Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Julio Urias (5-3, 3.61) in the first of a four-game set on Thursday. Wainwright is 7-6 with a 2.79 ERA in 19 lifetime appearances against the Dodgers.
TOP PHOTO: Milwaukee Brewers’ William Contreras breaks his bat over his knee after grounding out to end the top of the fifth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)