MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ryan Braun and Corey Hart homered, Chris Narveson threw eight innings and the Milwaukee Brewers kept rolling at home despite a small fire in the ballpark in an 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.Narveson (3-4) began his career as a Cardinals draft pick, but he’s played an important role in Milwaukee’s rotation and stymied his former team after losing to St. Louis on May 8.
Braun’s two-run homer made it 4-0 in the fifth and Hart hit a solo shot to start the sixth just as smoke started to billow in right field from a concession stand’s malfunctioning popcorn machine.
Tony La Russa managed his 5,000th game for the Cardinals, but there was little he could have liked from this one after St. Louis managed just six hits.
Milwaukee improved to 23-9 at home, the best mark in the majors, and could take first place in the NL Central from the Cardinals with a three-game sweep of this weekend series.
The Brewers got off to a solid start by roughing up Kyle Lohse (7-3) and chasing him after five innings. Lohse has lost five straight to Milwaukee and hasn’t won in Miller Park for six years.
Not many other teams have, either. Milwaukee dropped two of three against the Mets in its previous series, but has not lost consecutive games at home this season.
Narveson was sharp throughout after going 0-1 with a 10.66 ERA in his previous three starts. He only had more than one baserunner in the eighth and he sprinted off the mound after striking out Jon Jay to end the threat.
Craig Counsell tripled in the third, then slid headfirst around the tag of catcher Yadier Molina on Narveson’s safety squeeze. Nyjer Morgan followed with a sacrifice fly two batters later to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead.
Lohse got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, but wouldn’t be so lucky against Braun, who drove a pitch the opposite way for his 14th homer this season in the fifth.
Hart followed with his homer and Rickie Weeks singled in a run off reliever Ryan Franklin as thick, sweet smelling smoke wafted down from the second deck to the first level and field of play. No one was hurt in the fire and a small section of the Miller Park roof on a chilly, 52-degree night was opened to help clear the air.
Milwaukee added two runs in the eighth.
La Russa was honored with an announcement before the game and tipped his cap to a warm ovation. He also discussed a call in the fourth inning with first-base umpire Angel Campos, but never came close to being tossed.
The 66-year-old La Russa is 2,676-2,320-4 with two World Series titles in 33 seasons with the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals. Only Connie Mack has managed more games in major league history — 7,755 over 53 years.
NOTES: Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to eight games. … The Cardinals recalled RHP Mitchell Boggs and optioned RHP Lance Lynn to Triple-A Memphis. Lynn made two starts, going 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA. … Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was on the field before the game chatting with La Russa. … Brewers RHP Takashi Saito (oblique) is scheduled to pitch a rehab assignment at Class-A Wisconsin on Sunday.
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