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MIL@STL: Jay's single extends the Cards' big inning

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have teed off against Yovani Gallardo for years. But Friday represented a new low for the Brewers' right-hander.

Just having returned home from a six-game road trip in which they tallied 18 total runs, the Cardinals busted out for 10 in the first three innings of the series opener against the Brewers. An eight-run third inning highlighted the night, which the Cardinals wrapped up with a 13-1 win in front of 43,063 fans at Busch Stadium.

"We just try to keep the line moving," said Jon Jay, who extended his hitting streak to seven games in his return to the lineup. "Everyone has good at-bats on our team. He's a great pitcher, but we were able to put together some runs today."

Gallardo has been anything but great, however, against the Cardinals.

He was chased from this start after failing to retire any of the six batters he faced in the third. By the time he exited, St. Louis had already raced out to a 6-1 lead. It grew to 10-1 by the time the inning ended.

"Location was not good," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Gallardo, who has a 1.71 ERA in three starts not against St. Louis this year. "They hit the ball hard and it went in. They hit the ball soft and it went in. Everything went wrong."

Skip Schumaker's two-run triple gave the Cardinals a lead in the second. St. Louis then opened the third with three singles and a pair of walks. Hits by Carlos Beltran and David Freese each drove in a run.

Matt Carpenter nearly connected for his first career grand slam, but settled for a two-run double when he launched Gallardo's 68th and final pitch off the center-field wall.

Schumaker, Jay and Matt Holliday tacked on RBI hits before the inning ended. And when it did, the Cardinals had sent 12 batters to the plate in the frame.

"He's a very good pitcher," Cards manager Mike Matheny said. "The guys just went up with a good approach today."

The eight runs are a single-inning high for St. Louis this season. The team hadn't scored more in a frame since plating nine in the sixth inning of a game against the Astros on April 28, 2011.

Eight of those first 10 runs were charged to Gallardo, who gave up six in a 3 2/3-inning Opening Day start against the Cardinals on April 6. In 13 career starts against the Cardinals, Gallardo is now 1-9 with a 7.05 ERA. Eight of those 13 starts have ended in five or fewer innings, and this was the shortest start of his career against any team.

Such sustained success against Gallardo can be explained how?

"I'm not sure because he's really good," said Schumaker, who, like Jay, finished with his first three-RBI performance of the year.

"I don't know. I can't tell you. The guy has plus pitches, and we're just lucky to put together that one big inning or whatever it is. He's really tough. Maybe some guys in here like him. I don't like facing him at all."

The Cardinals scored another four runs off recently recalled reliever Mike McClendon to push their advantage to 12-1 after five innings. Yadier Molina's eighth-inning double plated the final run. For the first time since Aug. 22, 2008, the Cardinals scored at least 13 runs without the benefit of a home run.

Jay, who was making his first start since injuring his right shoulder eight days ago, and Holliday each collected three hits, with Holliday reaching base in all four plate appearances. All eight starting position players scored at least once.

The only one in the lineup not to reach base was Jake Westbrook, though he contributed a pair of sacrifice bunts to the offensive effort. And he delivered another gem on the mound.

"He has been really, really good," Matheny said. "Hopefully he just figures out how to stay there. It's been fun to watch."

Continuing a string of strong performances from the team's starters, Westbrook made his third seven-inning start of the season. He has now gone at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his first four starts for the first time in his career.

It is "without a doubt" the best he's ever felt in April, Westbrook said. The numbers certainly support such a feeling.

Westbrook is 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts. He entered the year with a career record of 10-19 and ERA of 4.64 in March/April. Not only has he pitched deep into every start this year -- a sign of efficiency -- but Westbrook has also not allowed more than two earned runs in an outing.

"I'm just riding a lot of confidence right now, and trusting my sinker on the plate and being aggressive," Westbrook said. "Hopefully I can keep being consistent and keep putting together quality starts."

That sinker was on display Friday, as he didn't record an out outside of the infield until the sixth. He allowed a first-inning run when a grounder by Aramis Ramirez caromed off his ankle. The Brewers had just four other hits in Westbrook's final six innings.

Not to be lost in the luster of the offense is the job that the entire rotation continues to do. With Westbrook's quality start, Cardinals' starters have now allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of the team's last 12 games. Three starters have already won at least three games.

"You want to be successful, and when guys are throwing the ball well, you want to continue that trend," Westbrook said. "I think it all starts with us as starting pitchers." Comments