MILWAUKEE - St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty became the major leagues' first seven-game winner this year with a 2-0 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday as the Brewers' Corbin Burnes extended his streak to 58 consecutive strikeouts before his first walk.
Flaherty (7-0) allowed four hits in six innings, struck out six and walked two to help the Cardinals win a three-game series that featured dominant starting pitching.
Burnes (2-3) returned from the injured list after a positive test for coronavirus, which he said left him asymptomatic. He opted against getting vaccinated for what he said were personal reasons.
In his first appearance since April 26, Burnes struck out nine among his first 14 outs, giving him 58 strikeouts and no walks this year before he walked Tommy Edman with two outs in the fifth.
After starting Edman with a curveball for a called strike, Burnes threw a changeup and three straight cutters, the last with a 3-1 count that sailed high.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Burnes’ 58 strikeouts without a walk were the most by a major league pitcher within the same season since at least 1893, when the mound moved to its current distance from the plate of 60 feet, 6 inches.
Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees extended his active streak to 56 strikeouts on Wednesday at Tampa Bay. Cole has walked three this season.
Burnes allowed one run and five hits in five innings with nine strikeouts. Although Burnes has a 1.57 ERA, the Brewers have gone 2-4 in his six starts — scoring a total of one run in the four losses.
Alex Reyes remained perfect in 11 save chances by striking out Tyrone Taylor to strand two runners. The Brewers went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
Nolan Arenado’s two-out single in the first scored Edman. That marked the only time in this series that either team scored before the sixth inning.
Pitcher Ángel Perdomo's throwing error on a pickoff attempt past first with runners at the corners in the ninth allowed another run to score.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell was ejected in the third inning after arguing a ruling with Dylan Carlson at the plate.
Carlson hadn’t run on a grounder up the first-base line because he believed the ball was foul. First-base umpire Jim Reynolds initially ruled the ball fair, but the umpiring crew conferred and the call was changed to a foul ball.
Replays appeared to show Carlson fouled the ball off a foot. Counsell came out to argue and was tossed by Reynolds.
Cardinals: The Cardinals were awaiting MRI results on SS Paul DeJong, who left Wednesday’s game with left side tightness.
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich will begin a rehabilitation assignment with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday as the 2018 NL MVP recovers from a strained lower back that has caused him to play just one game since April 11.
Utilityman Daniel Robertson (concussion) is beginning a rehab assignment in Nashville on Thursday. … The Brewers activated C Omar Narváez (hamstring) and RHP Josh Lindblom (knee) from the injured list.
The Brewers sent RHP Zack Godley outright to Nashville, optioned C Luke Maile and RHP Patrick Weigel to Nashville and designated C Jacob Nottingham for assignment.
Cardinals: Begin a three-game series at San Diego on Friday. The scheduled starting pitchers are Johan Oviedo (0-1, 4.61 ERA) for the Cardinals and Joe Musgrove (2-4, 3.00) for the Padres.
Brewers: Open a three-game home series with the Atlanta Braves on Friday. Adrian Houser (3-3, 3.44) starts for the Brewers and Drew Smyly (1-2, 6.12) pitches for the Braves.