ST. LOUIS — Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Tyrone Taylor homered twice and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 on Wednesday night to take another step toward their second NL Central title in three years.
“I was doing cage work today just listening to him talk about his approach,” Taylor said of Donaldson. “It’s cool to be around him.”
Donaldson homered off Zack Thompson (5-7), the former AL MVP’s second home run since he was released by the New York Yankees and signed by Milwaukee. Twelve of Donaldson’s 22 big league hits this year have been home runs.
Mark Canha hit a three-run double in the ninth inning for Milwaukee, which began the night six games ahead of the second-place Chicago Cubs. Acquired from the Mets ahead of the trade deadline, Canha has 30 RBIs in 42 games with the Brewers after getting 29 in 89 games with New York.
Milwaukee has won 21 of its last 30 games.
“We’re just coming in every day, keeping it light, having fun, having a good time,” Houser said. “We’ve got a bigger picture in mind. We don’t just want to get into the playoffs. We want to go and win a World Series.”
St. Louis lost its 85th game for the first time since 1999. The Cardinals (67-85) already were assured of their first losing season since 2007.
Taylor had the fourth multihomer game of his career, hitting solo drives in the fourth off Thompson and in the ninth against Casey Lawrence.
“He's just continuing to put the ball in the air and do damage with it,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “In the bottom of the lineup, that kind of production has changed our offense.”
Adrian Houser (7-4) won his third straight decision, giving up one run and four hits in six innings. Three relievers finished a six-hitter.
“Sometimes when guys might be sitting on a sinker, we'd pop in a four (seamer) there and they're a little off of it because it's a little bit straighter," Houser said. “We did a great job of mixing it up.”
St. Louis catcher Willson Contreras left in the sixth inning with left wrist discomfort.
“This is a guy that just wants to be in there,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said of Contreras. “He doesn't care where we are in the standings. He's going to wake up and want to win tomorrow.”
Goldschmidt hit an RBI single in the first.
Brewers: RHP Elvis Peguero was placed on the 15-day injured list with fluid in his right elbow, a move retroactive to Sunday. RHP JB Bukauskas was recalled from Triple-A Nashville
Cardinals: INF/OF Alec Burleson had surgery for fractured left thumb sustained in Tuesday’s game. OF Dylan Carlson had surgery on his left ankle. Both are expected to be ready for next season.
Milwaukee LHP Wade Miley (8-3, 3.38) will face RHP Miles Mikolas (7-12, 4.84) in the final game of the four-game set on Thursday. The Brewers are 13-8 in Miley’s starts. He is 2-4 with a 2.85 ERA in eight career starts in St. Louis. Mikolas has eight wins against Milwaukee, his most against any team.