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MIL@STL: Wainwright goes the distance vs. Brewers

The shorthanded Cardinals were shut down by the Giants in Wednesday's forgettable 15-0 loss, but they'll have a shot to even the series Thursday when they are expected to be back near full strength.

Various injuries kept Skip Schumaker, Allen Craig and Rafael Furcal out of the starting lineup for the Cardinals on Wednesday, but all three are expected to be available to play Thursday.

Their presence in the lineup will be a welcome boost for the Cardinals, who have lost two straight to a Giants club that has won five of its last six.

And more good news for the Cardinals is that Adam Wainwright takes the mound after one of the most commanding starts of his career, a 98-pitch complete game against the Brewers. The eight-year veteran is 9-10 with a 4.03 ERA this season.

"We really need him in this stretch that we're going to go on to come through with our goals, which is to play in October," Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay said.

Opposing Wainwright will be the Giants' promising young left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who allowed four runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings against the Cardinals on May 16.

"Bumgarner, he's tough," said Cardinals third baseman David Freese, who homered off Bumgarner in that game. "He crossfires it in there and sneaks them past you. He's the type of guy you have to grind an at-bat out against."

Bumgarner is coming off an impressive start in his own right, battling through the adverse pitching conditions at Coors Field to limit the Rockies to one run on five hits in six innings despite the thin air making his curveball slip out of his hand.

"I kept the fastball down and used the cutter a lot," Bumgarner said after the start. "I didn't really throw much else."

Giants: Club turns to closer-by-committee
Manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti informed the bullpen after Tuesday's game of the new plan going forward, which is that Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez will split late-inning duties depending on the matchups.

"They said, 'Look, this is what we have to do. We believe in you guys. We believe that we do a bullpen-by-committee scenario, we understand the situations that can take place. But we have a lot of faith that this bullpen can do it,'" Affeldt said after closing Tuesday's 4-2 win. "I think when you're addressed like that, you know your manager and your pitching coach both see the situation, and basically you're trying to back them up."

Bochy said Santiago Casilla will likely pitch in the sixth and seventh innings after blowing five of his last 10 save attempts.

Cardinals: Berkman experiencing more soreness
Sidelined with inflammation in his right knee since Friday, Lance Berkman is now also experiencing soreness in his left knee.

"It's just one of those uphill battles he's had," manager Mike Matheny said. "Hopefully we can get him strengthened to where he can get back into baseball shape. The guy can't catch a break here."

Berkman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in March 2010, and the 36-year-old veteran has only appeared in 28 games this season.

Worth noting
• Buster Posey extended his hit streak to 12 games in Wednesday's win. The All-Star catcher has hit safely in 21 of the 23 games since the All-Star break.

• Wainwright has just one win against the Giants, holding a 1-4 record with a 3.35 ERA. His sole win came in three innings of relief back on June 24, 2006. Comments