ST. LOUIS -- Marco Estrada is making up for lost time.
The Milwaukee right-hander continued his string of strong performances in the Brewers' 5-1 loss at St. Louis on Wednesday. Estrada allowed two hits and one earned run in 6 2-3 innings. He did not allow a hit until Matt Carpenter singled with two outs in the sixth. Estrada left the game with a 1-0 lead.
Estrada is 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in six starts since coming off the disabled list Aug. 7 after missing 62 days with a strained left hamstring muscle.
"Obviously, any time you have a good game, you're happy," he said. "I just wish I would have started the season off a little better."
Estrada has nine quality starts in 18 starts this season. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his last six starts.
Against the Cardinals, Estrada retired the side in order in four of the first five innings.
"Marco came out with great command and good stuff," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "He did a really nice job. It's unfortunate, he's had a couple of great starts and we didn't win the games."
Estrada, who struck out six and walked three, was pitching on 12 days rest. He struggled early in the season giving up 13 earned runs over two outings in late April and early May.
But he has come on of late and Wednesday's performance was another in a series of impressive outings.
"The (stint) on the DL hurt me, but I'm trying to make the best of it," Estrada said. "I've got a couple starts left and I hope I can keep throwing well."
Unfortunately, the Brewers didn't back him with enough offence. It marked their third loss in five games.
Matt Adams had a two-run home run and the Cardinals broke open a tight game with four in the eighth. St. Louis won its fifth consecutive game to maintain a one-game lead over Pittsburgh and a three-game advantage on Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Pirates finished a three-game sweep at Texas and the Reds knocked off the Chicago Cubs earlier in the day.
Lance Lynn had one of his best starts in more than a month. He went six innings and gave up an unearned run on five hits.
"Yeah, but it's only one game," he said. "You still got to get ready for the next one and try to improve off of tonight. There were a couple of mistakes I made and they went for hits and I walked a few guys, you don't want to do that ever.
"But tonight was a good building block going down the stretch here and get myself right for this team in this run we're trying to make."
He also struck out 10, the third time this season he's reached double digits and the sixth time in 61 starts. The effort marked the first since May 24 that Lynn didn't allow an earned run, a stretch of 20 games. He last won Aug. 4, when he gave up two runs in eight innings in a 15-2 victory at Cincinnati.
Brandon Kintzler (3-2) gave up three runs on two hits and a walk while only getting two outs. He surrendered a game-tying hit in the seventh before loading the bases with one out in the eighth.
Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly off Michael Gonzalez scored Matt Carpenter to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. An error by catcher Jonathan Lucroy allowed Jon Jay to score and Adams followed with his 12th homer of the season.
Trevor Rosenthal (2-3) had a hitless eighth inning for the win.
"I'm frustrated," Roenicke said. "I'm tired of getting leads and just giving them away. We've got to win some of these games where we get leads."
Lynn allowed a hit in each of the first five innings but got hurt most because of one of his two walks in the second. His one-out pass of Scooter Gennett pushed Carlos Gomez to second. On a successful double steal, Gomez came home when Tony Cruz's attempt to get Gennett bounced into centerfield.
The Cardinals broke through on an RBI hit from David Descalso. Matt Holliday led off with a single, the second hit against starter Estrada, and moved to second on a two-out walk to David Freese. Descalso sent Kintzler's second pitch down the left field line to score Holliday and tie the game at 1-1.
NOTES: St. Louis C Yadier Molina missed the game for "family matters," according to Matheny. The Cardinals did not elaborate on the reason or say when the All-Star catcher would return to the team. ... St. Louis distributed 7,906 complimentary tickets to first responders and military personnel in honour of Sept. 11. ... Tyler Thornburg (1-1, 2.08) is scheduled to start for Milwaukee in the finale of the three-game set Thursday and will face Joe Kelly (8-3, 2.74). Kelly has won his past five starts. ... Hockey great Wayne Gretzky watched the game from the front row.