MILWAUKEE — Lance Lynn pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 9-3 on Sunday, taking two out of three games from their NL Central rivals to start the season.
Ryan Braun hit his first home run of the year for the Brewers, a solo shot with the game well out of reach in the ninth.
It was the third career start for Lynn (1-0), who played a key relief role during the Cardinals' championship run last season. The 24-year-old right-hander was added to the rotation after Chris Carpenter went on the disabled list with a shoulder problem this spring.
Corey Hart had a solo homer in the fifth for Milwaukee after hitting a pair of home runs Saturday.
Lynn gave up one run and struck out eight, a career high, while walking only one in 6 2-3 innings. He also picked Braun off first base to end the first and singled in the fourth for his first career hit.
Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals, his second of the season. Shane Robinson added a three-run shot in the ninth, the first homer of his career.
Randy Wolf (0-1) threw 108 pitches in five innings for the Brewers, giving up three runs and nine hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny made several lineup changes for Sunday's game, starting Tyler Greene at second base, Matt Carpenter at first, Tony Cruz at catcher and Robinson in center field. Even without a few of their regular players, the Cardinals managed to give Wolf some trouble.
Matt Holliday gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the first when he hit a one-out double to center and Rafael Furcal scored from first on a high throw home by Rickie Weeks. Holliday took third on the throw, but was stranded there when Wolf got Beltran and David Freese to ground out.
The Cardinals added another run in the fourth, when Furcal delivered a two-out RBI single on a 3-2 pitch from Wolf, scoring Robinson from second for a 2-0 lead.
Mixing up mid-90s fastballs and 79 mph breaking ball, Lynn gave up only one hit through his first four innings. The closest the Brewers came to scoring early on was a long fly off the bat of Braun that died at the warning track in center to end the fourth.
Wolf gave up another run in the fifth on an RBI single by Freese, but he limited the damage by getting Robinson to strike out with runners on first and second to end the inning.
Hart then homered off Lynn in the bottom of the fifth. Beltran homered off reliever Marco Estrada in the seventh, giving the Cardinals a 5-1 lead.Comment on this story
With Milwaukee trailing 6-1 in the eighth, Alex Gonzalez hit an RBI double to cut the deficit to four.
Brewers closer John Axford made his first appearance of the season in the ninth but was taken out of the game after back-to-back walks. Kameron Loe came in and gave up a three-run homer to Robinson.
NOTES: Milwaukee's Norichika Aoki singled as a pinch hitter in the eighth for his first career hit, then scored on Gonzalez's double. ... Furcal was 3 for 5 with two singles and a double. ... Robinson had three hits.