|Hiura, Brewers look for more vs. Cardinals|
The Milwaukee Brewers got a key offensive weapon back during their crucial weekend series against the host St. Louis Cardinals.
Rookie second baseman Keston Hiura returned as a pinch hitter Saturday night after missing two weeks with a hamstring strain. He should be available again Sunday as the Brewers aim for their ninth victory in 10 games.
The Brewers (79-69) are four games back of the NL Central-leading Cardinals (83-65) and one game back of the Chicago Cubs (80-68) for the second wild-card spot.
Hiura's return helps offset the loss of reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich, who will miss the rest of the season with a broken kneecap. Hiura is hitting .300 with 16 homers and 48 RBIs in 70 games this season.
"It's feeling better," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It's just a matter of time and feeling confident in being able to go full-time. It has been two weeks. For a Grade 2 hamstring strain, that's still fairly quick. I've got to be patient with it.
"A 'hammy' injury is not something you take lightly. You've definitely got to be careful as you move forward with it. I pulled it a little bit in 2017, the year I got drafted, and it took about two to three weeks for that one. That's kind of my timetable."
Sunday's game will likely to feature many relief pitchers. Brewers starter Chase Anderson (6-4, 4.57 ERA) has pitched fewer than six innings in all but two of his 24 starts this season.
Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (6-7, 4.97 ERA) has worked more than five innings just once since June 28.
Anderson has allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings in his two appearances against the Cardinals this season, both out of the bullpen. He is 2-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 13 career outings against them, including 11 starts.
Wacha is 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA in three starts against the Brewers this season and 6-0 with a 3.62 ERA in 14 career appearances against them. He lost his last start 2-1 at Colorado, allowing two runs in four innings.
Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong reached base in all 17 games against the Brewers this season. Since moving up into the No. 2 spot in the batting order, he has done a nice job setting the table for Paul Goldschmidt.
Wong is 7-for-12 with four runs scored and four RBIs in his last three games.
"I'm trying to facilitate the inning for Paul, whether I'm working a walk or getting a bunt down to get guys over," Wong told the St. Louis Dispatch. "To have a guy like that behind me, it's one of those things where you've really got to pay attention to the situation and get them in situations you want."
On the Brewers injury front, pitcher Brandon Woodruff (oblique strain) threw a bullpen session Saturday, and Manny Pina (concussion) also stepped up his activity. Woodruff could return to active duty next week.
For the Cardinals, catcher Matt Wieters (calf strain) also stepped up his activity and moved closer toward returning.
--Field Level Media