ST. LOUIS — Make it an even 50 for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Road victories, that is, after riding home runs from Daniel Vogelbach and Manny Piña and a terrific five-inning start from Adrian Houser to a 4-0 shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.
Successfully putting the news earlier in the day that setup man Devin Williams had suffered a fractured right hand and is likely done for the season into the background, the Brewers became the second team in the majors this season to reach 50 wins away from home.
That extends the franchise record and also leaves the Brewers one victory away from tying the high-water mark of 96 regular-season victories, which was set in 2011.
Also of note — the Cardinals having their franchise-record winning streak of 17 games finally snapped. It was their first defeat since Sept. 10 and just their second in their last 21 games.
Working in Houser’s favor was the fact the Cardinals were sans three of their stalwarts in third baseman Nolan Arenado, leftfielder Tyler O’Neill and catcher Yadier Molina.
St. Louis, of course, clinched the second wild-card spot in the National League by beating Milwaukee, 6-2, on Tuesday — an accomplishment that allowed manager Mike Shildt to handle his roster more conservatively over the rest of the week like his counterpart Craig Counsell.
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Staked to a 1-0 lead in the first on an Eduardo Escobar RBI groundout, he worked himself out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the frame by getting the speedy Harrison Bader to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
That seemed to set the tone as Houser — 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA in three prior starts against St. Louis this year — allowed only two more baserunners while inducing seven ground-ball outs over the next four innings with his heavy sinker.
Just how much was the right-hander pitching to contact? Enough that his strikeout of Lars Nootbaar to complete five-shutout innings was his first of the game.
Miles Mikolas had been dealing as well since allowing the first-inning run but saw his night end abruptly in the sixth.
Christian Yelich singled with one out — giving him three times on base in as many plate appearances — and after Escobar popped out, Vogelbach homered to right-center to up Milwaukee’s lead to 3-0.
Lorenzo Cain followed with a single, and Mikolas made way for Andrew Miller.
Brent Suter also took over the the sixth, leaving Houser’s line at three hits, two walks and a strikeout over 67 pitches — an economical yet impressive performance.
In three starts and 20 innings against the Cardinals in September, Houser (10-6) allowed 11 hits, one run and four walks while striking out 13. He lowered his season ERA to 3.22 in the process.
Piña’s leadoff homer off Miller in the seventh capped the scoring, while manager Craig Counsell utilized Brad Boxberger and Aaron Ashby to wrap up the Brewers’ 19th shutout of the season and first since Sept. 11 at Cleveland.