Tyler O'Neill and Lars Nootbaar hit back-to-back home runs in a five-run fifth inning to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-4 on Thursday night.
Nolan Arenado also drove in a pair of runs as St. Louis erased a three-run deficit to avoid a three-game sweep. The Cardinals sit 3 1/2 games behind San Diego for the second National League wild-card spot.
Arenado started the two-out, fifth-inning rally with a run-scoring single to left off Brandon Woodruff (7-7) that plated Andrew Knizner, cutting the St. Louis deficit to 4-2.
O'Neill followed with a 450-foot, three-run homer to left field to put St. Louis ahead 5-4.
Two pitches later, Nootbaar hit his third home run of the season to right field for the Cardinals' seventh set of back-to-back homers this season.
Jon Lester allowed four runs on six hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. He was knocked to his knees in the first inning when Christian Yelich lined a ball off his right calf, but he was able to remain in the game.
Junior Fernandez (1-0), Luis Garcia, Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos, and T.J. McFarland combined to pitch 4 2/3 innings of perfect relief. Fernandez needed two pitches to get Lorenzo Cain to ground into a double play in the fifth inning to earn his first major league win.
Woodruff allowed six runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings as the Brewers lost for just the second time on a season-high, 10-game road trip.
Milwaukee scored all four of its runs in the top of the fourth inning. Manny Pina doubled to left field to score Avisail Garcia and tie the game at 1. Kolten Wong later hit a two-run single and Willy Adames drove in Wong with a double to left field to expand the Milwaukee lead to 4-1.
Miles Mikolas (0-0, 2.25 ERA) will be activated off the injured list to make his second start of the season at home to open a three-game series against Pittsburgh on Friday night. The Pirates will start RHP Mitch Keller (3-10, 6.86 ERA).