MILWAUKEE • What began with a flurry of singles in one inning on Thursday night grew into a torrent that lasted the Cardinals all weekend and carried to something they've never done before.
The Cardinals belted Milwaukee, 10-1, on Sunday to continue an offensive uprising at Miller Park and complete a four-game sweep of the Brewers.
The Cardinals had never before swept Milwaukee in a four-game series.
Jon Jay had his fourth consecutive two-hit game and he reached base four times during the rout. A day after hitting his first home run of the season, Allen Craig does what Allen Craig has been prone to do since becoming a regular for the Cardinals -- drive in runs. He had four RBIs in the game Sunday, and that helped Matt Holliday score three runs. Holliday also scored three times.
In the four-game set against the Brewers, the Cardinals 29 runs and pelted Milwaukee pitching with 48 hits.
Lefty Jaime Garcia improved to 4-1 this season and didn't need much offensive support to do it. Garcia allowed one run on a scattering of eight hits through his eight innings of work. He struck out three, and the lone run he allowed came in on a bunt single by a Milwaukee reliever. The game had been decided by that point. Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals hard-throwing rookie, pitched the ninth. Martinez hit 99 mph when he struck out Carlos Gomez.
In the sixth inning, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was hit by a pitch on his right hand. Molina remained in the game but was replaced in the eighth inning by pinch hitter and backup catcher Tony Cruz.
Cruz's RBI single brought home the Cardinals' final run.
The Cardinals (20-11) have won six consecutive games. They will have an off day Monday before finishing this road trip with a two-game series at Wrigley Field that starts Tuesday night.
Cards continues to add on, lead 9-1
Miller Park must agree with the Cardinals.
One of the best places to hit in the division has been the elixir for whatever has ailed the Cardinals offense in recent weeks. One trip to visit the Milwaukee Brewers and behold the curative power of brats.
Matt Holliday hit his second home run of the series in the fourth inning to push the Cardinals ahead, 8-0. Two innings later, Holliday singled and scored on Allen Craig's RBI triple down the right-field line. Holliday has three runs scored this afternoon -- his second three-run game in three days -- and Craig had four RBIs.
He's a quarter of the way to 100 for the season and the Cardinals aren't yet one-fifth of the way into their season.
Jaime Garcia has allowed one run on seven hits through six innings of work. The one run scored on a bunt single by relief pitcher Alfredo Figaro. The attempt merely to bring the runner home became much more for Figaro. It was his first big-league hit. It was also the first of three infield hits that loaded the bases against Garcia in the fifth inning. But the Cardinals lefty was able to wiggle free of danger when he got cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez to chase after a slider in the dirt for a strikeout and the final out of the inning.
Craig clears bases with double, carries Cards to 6-0 lead
If you'll excuse the clear allusion to the song we all know too, too well but six has been a serious number for the Cardinals this weekend at Miller Park.
They scored six in one inning Thursday night.
They scored six to win on Friday night.
Six was not enough Saturday afternoon, but six RBIs combined from Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso did help in a 7-6 win.
And then today: It just got serious again.
The Cardinals strafed Brewers starting pitcher Marco Estrada with six runs in the second inning to take a 6-0 lead. Estrada invited the trouble with three walks in the inning and a hit batter. Two of the walks came with the bases loaded to force home the first two of the Cardinals' runs. Allen Craig did the most damage when he pulled a line-drive down the left-field line to clear the bases.
He has 24 RBIs already this season.
Yadier Molina added an RBI single -- he has 17 RBIs this season -- to cap the scoring in the inning.
All six of the runs came home after Estrada had two outs.
The Cardinals sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning, and they got the same results and the same lead as they did Thursday night when they scored six runs from 11 batters in the third inning against Milwaukee.
Jaime Garcia needed nine pitches to retire the side in the bottom of the second inning immediately after the Cards took their lead.
Tempted to get Rosenthal another break
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he is tempted to go another day without using rookie reliever Trevor Rosenthal, if it's all possible this afternoon at Miller Park.
Rosenthal has logged the most usage of any of the relievers, and there have been few days in the season's first month when the righty did not at least warm up for an appearance. On Thursday night, Rosenthal pitched 1 1/3 innings, but because of an error he had to essentially get five outs for the Cardinals.
Matheny said the risk/reward is keeping Rosenthal throwing well now that he's got some of his mojo back with the need to get him a rest for the usage. Four days is appealing for the rest part of it.
Matheny isn't sure it's the best thing to keep Rosenthal sharp.
The Cardinals manager said he would make the decision based on how the game played out and whether Rosenthal was able to throw without fatigue before the game.
Some other pre-game notes:
-- Carlos Beltran is getting a break because he's still winded from his battle with the flu a week ago.
-- Jose Oquendo returned to St. Louis to attend to a family matter. He will rejoin the team Tuesday in Chicago. In his absence, Chris Maloney moved to the third base coach's box and Bengie Molina made his first appearance on the field this season as the first-base coach.
The Cardinals' 1913 jerseys do not feature a logo on the front of the jersey. The only identification on the field of gray is a sleeve patch on the left sleeve, where the team has been wearing Musial patches.
The Cardinals got the first two batters of the game on base in the first inning, but they were unable to get either home as Allen Craig and Yadier Molina both struck out with runners in scoring position to end the inning.
Jay rises back to leadoff
The Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers will both wear jerseys modeled after 1913 teams that played in their cities.
The Cardinals aren't going back quite that far to find their leadoff man.
With a retro look that harkens back to, oh, perhaps 10 days or so ago, the Cardinals have moved center fielder Jon Jay back to the top spot in the order. Jay has reached base eight times in this series, and he has two hits in three consecutive games. His average has climbed from the Brink of Mendoza to the .240s against Brewers pitching.
The Cardinals have won five consecutive games and go for a four-game sweep of the Brewers at Miller Park. The roof is open.
Here are the lineups for the Sunday finale:
1. Jay, CF
2. Robinson, RF
3. Holliday, LF
4. Craig, 1B
5. Molina, C
6. Freese, 3B
7. Descalso, 2B
8. Kozma, SS
9. Garcia, P
And then for the Brewers, who will be wearing jerseys that are inspired by the American Association champs from Milwaukee in 1913.
1. Aoki, RF
2. Segura, SS
3. Braun, LF
4. Ramirez, 3B
5. Weeks, 2B
6. Lucroy, C
7. Gomez, CF
8. Betancourt, 1B
9. Estrada, P
It's another strong Sunday of baseball coverage at The Post-Dispatch with a paper loaded with Cardinals coverage. Check out the menu:
And, of course, this year blog thing that you've already just about finished reading to the final period. Check back throughout the afternoon and during the game here for updated news and coverage.