Series: Game 3 of 3

St. Louis won 3-0

Game 1: Monday, September 9
St. Louis 3Final
Milwaukee 0
Game 2: Tuesday, September 10
St. Louis 8Final
Milwaukee 3
Game 3: Wednesday, September 11
St. Louis 4Final
Milwaukee 3

Cardinals 4

(84-61, 40-34 away)

Brewers 3

(51-95, 29-46 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 11, 2002

    Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 010200100 4 - -
    MIL 001020000 3 - -

    W: J. Fassero (7-6)

    L: B. Sheets (9-16)

    S: J. Isringhausen (29)

    Cardinals extend lead to season-high 6½ games

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals opened their biggest lead of the season at just the right time.

    Tino Martinez

    Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo drove in the go-ahead run with a bloop single in the seventh inning, and the Cardinals extended their winning streak to eight by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 Wednesday night.

    St. Louis opened a season-high 6-game lead in the NL Central over second-place Houston who lost to Colorado.

    ''Thank Colorado tonight for finally getting one from them (Houston), giving us an extra game,'' reliever Jeff Fassero said.

    Fassero (7-6) escaped a sixth-inning, two-on, one-out jam created when Richie Sexson doubled off Cardinals starter Andy Benes and Jose Hernandez walked. Fassero's effort kept the score tied at 3 and set the stage for Cairo's go-ahead hit in the seventh.

    It as Fassero's second victory with St. Louis since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 25 for two players to be named.

    The Cardinals are on their longest winning streak since a nine-game stretch from Sept. 8-22 last year.

    The Cards hope to ride that momentum into their key four-game series against the Astros.

    ''It's good going into Houston on a big winning streak,'' Fassero said.

    Cardinals manager Tony La Russa cautioned that his team can't rest on how they've been playing.

    ''We never take this game for granted,'' he said. ''What we need is to go into Houston and play well.''

    After the 9:11 p.m. moment of silence and video tribute to the victims of last year's terrorist attacks, Fassero retired pinch-hitters Ryan Thompson and Robert Machado. Thompson popped to short and Machado ground out to third, wasting Sexson's leadoff double.

    Milwaukee was 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position Wednesday night and 5-for-38 in the last four games.

    Brewers manager Jerry Royster had finally seen enough and launched a profanity-laced assessment of his team.

    ''We're not doing anything right,'' he said. ''We're playing like clowns. It's ridiculous to play a game like that and lose by one-run to the best team in the division. A pathetic game.''

    Mike Matheny tripled off Ben Sheets (9-16) leading off the bottom half and Cairo looped a single off into short right field against Ray King. Cairo's 17 pinch hits are second in the NL, three behind the Brewers' Lenny Harris.

    Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances, completing a three-game sweep. The Cardinals' bullpen has gone 37 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

    Sheets, who tied Tampa Bay's Tanyon Sturtze for the major league lead in losses, allowed four runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. Benes gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

    Sexson had two unassisted double plays at first base for the Brewers, whose 51-95 record is the worst in the NL.

    Tino Martinez homered in the second, but Jorge Fabregas tied it in the third with an RBI double.

    Edgar Renteria's RBI double and Matheny's run-scoring single gave St. Louis a 3-1 lead in the fourth, but Milwaukee retired it an inning later on Jorge Fabregas' sacrifice fly and Eric Young's RBI single.

    Game notes

    Nelson Figueroa of the Brewers and Matheny read a message from President Bush during a 25-minute pregame ceremony. ... The Cardinals sent LHP Mike Matthews to the Brewers as a player to be named in the Aug. 29 trade that sent minor league OF Chris Morris to Milwaukee for RHP Jamey Wright. Matthews was activated from the 15-day disabled list (strained right hip flexor). RHP Chad Fox was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. ... It was the ninth series sweep for the Cardinals, their first in Milwaukee since September 1998. They swept 12 series last season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press