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ST. LOUIS (AP) — With gruesome pictures of Giancarlo Stanton's smashed-up face all over the Internet, it's hard to forget what an errant pitch can do.
Mike Fiers had no choice.
"It's a different day, different team," he said. "You just got to go out there and focus on what I can do. It's not going to be good if you think about your last outing, last game if you did bad. It's not how this game goes. You've got to look past the short memory."
Fiers pitched strong through seven innings, but it wasn't enough as Adam Wainwright posted his 19th win, pitching a shutout Wednesday night as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 to hold their 2 1/2-game edge in the NL Central.
St. Louis has won four of five and kept its advantage over second-place Pittsburgh. Milwaukee dropped 2 1/2 games behind the Pirates for the second NL wild-card spot.
Fiers (6-3) held the Cardinals hitless until Wainwright singled up the middle with two outs in the sixth. It was Fiers' first start since beaning Stanton last week, ending his season.
He gave up one earned run and three hits against the Cardinals.
"I don't know what Michael was thinking coming into the game," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He was really good the last couple of days talking to him. But it's hard to say. Until we saw the first inning, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I saw the way he was throwing the ball and I said 'OK, we're back to normal.'"
Wainwright could say the same thing. It was his fourth consecutive win after a dreadful August during which he lost four of six starts and had a 5.17 ERA.
"For a long while I wasn't very good," he said. "It was good to be back making pitches when I need to."
Wainwright (19-9) worked around seven hits and tied for the major league lead in wins and shutouts.
It was the second time in less than two weeks Wainwright went the distance against Milwaukee. He gave up one run to the Brewers in a 9-1 victory on Sept. 7 at Milwaukee that gave the Cardinals a season-best 4 ½ game advantage.
"I would say that was an impressive pitching performance," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He had everything and then when you watch the ninth and see ninety five pop up there (on the radar) and you realize that this guy still had a lot in the tank.
"He's a special pitcher when he gets it all right."
Wainwright struck out seven and walked two in his ninth career shutout. He has thrown three shutouts this year, matching Detroit's Rick Porcello and Miami's Henderson Alvarez for most in the majors.
Wainwright and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw are atop the majors in wins.
This was the Cardinals' 21st shutout of the season, their most since 1968 when Bob Gibson and the rest of the staff had 30.
"Wainwright gave up more hits but he was able to pitch out of jams," Fiers said. "Pretty much the only jam I got into, they made the hits when they had to and they needed to. I needed to be better in that one inning, I wasn't, so they capitalize."
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha, whose last start was skipped after he struggled in his return from a shoulder injury, is scheduled to start Saturday against Cincinnati. In two starts this month, he pitched seven innings and had a 7.71 ERA. Wacha threw his third bullpen session since his last start on Wednesday and did enough to convince manager Matheny he was ready.
Brewers: Kyle Lohse (12-9, 3.81 ERA) pitches Thursday night against the Cardinals. He has lost five of his past six decisions, including twice to St. Louis. In those two losses, in which he lasted four innings both times, Lohse gave up 14 runs on 13 hits, including four homers.
Cardinals: Shelby Miller (10-9, 3.75) has given up one earned run over 20 innings in three starts this month. He has won his past two decisions, following four consecutive no decisions. Miller won both of his starts against Milwaukee this season, giving up four runs in 12 innings.
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