Milwaukee Brewers' Victor Caratini (7) is congratulated by teammate Rowdy...

Milwaukee Brewers' Victor Caratini (7) is congratulated by teammate Rowdy Tellez (11) after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in St. Louis. Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

ST. LOUIS — Victor Caratini hit a three-run homer and Blake Perkins added a solo shot, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday in the final game of a four-game series.

The Brewers’ magic number to clinch their second National League Central title in three years is two with nine games to play.

“We're in a good spot right now,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “We're playing well. We're not there yet. Let's take care of business. Right now, it's finish the job.”

Milwaukee (87-66) could wrap up the division title as soon as Friday in Miami with another victory and a loss by the Chicago Cubs. The number to just clinch a postseason berth is two over the Marlins.

The Brewers have won eight of their last 11 and 22 of their last 31 games.

“We're playing solid, all-around baseball in all three areas,” Counsell said.

St. Louis (67-86) fell 20 games behind first-place Milwaukee in enduring its first losing season since 2007. The Cardinals, now shut out 12 times this season, have lost seven of their last 11 games.

Milwaukee Brewers' Victor Caratini watches his three-run home run during...

Milwaukee Brewers' Victor Caratini watches his three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in St. Louis. Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

“It is what it is,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “We've had some injuries. It's been that type of year.”

Wade Miley (9-4) breezed through six innings on 92 pitches. He gave up three hits and only one runner reached second base. He struck out seven and walked two while stranding five runners.

“We're playing a fun brand of baseball and we're close to being where we want to be at,” Miley said. “The intensity has picked up. It's a very talented team. I just go out and pitch. Nothing is done until it's done.”

Miles Mikolas (7-13) pitched into the sixth inning, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and a walk. He had lost eight of his last nine decisions dating back to July 27.

Milwaukee Brewers' Victor Caratini, left, rounds the bases after hitting...

Milwaukee Brewers' Victor Caratini, left, rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run off St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in St. Louis. Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

“I'm trying to get through the season working on stuff,” Mikolas said. “I'm just going out there trying to have some fun. It's a year to go back and see what I did good and hold on that and change what I did bad.”

Perkins led off the third inning with a home run to right field, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. It was the first home run for Perkins since June 17 at Pittsburgh. He returned to the club Sunday from the 10-day injured list. Perkins had been sidelined by an oblique injury since Aug. 11.

“Up and down the order today, everyone was having good at-bats,” Perkins said. “I try to play my game and play as well as I can.”

The Brewers extended their lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning. Right fielder Jordan Walker misjudged Brice Turang’s ball for a two-base error and followed it with a throwing error, allowing Turang to take third. One out later, Sal Frelick singled to left for the run.

Milwaukee chased Mikolas in the sixth. Willy Adames led off with a double followed by singles by Rowdy Tellez and Andruw Monasterio for a run. Caratini cleared the bases by drilling a 3-2 slider into the right field stands, making it 6-0. It was his first homer since Aug. 11.

“Three-run homers are game changers,” Counsell said. "We've gotten that hit more often."

GOOD PITCHING

The Brewers' three pitchers Thursday allowed six total hits. Milwaukee has not given up double-digit hit totals in 26 consecutive games, the longest active streak or otherwise in the majors this season. It's the longest in MLB since the Washington Nationals did it in 2018. The 1968 Baltimore Orioles had a 30-game streak.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

RHP Devin Williams celebrated his 29th birthday on Thursday. The St. Louis native last pitched on Sunday against Washington and tossed a scoreless ninth inning. He has 35 saves this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: Christian Yelich (back) remains day-to-day. He has missed 11 of the last 12 games with his lone game played in that span being last Friday. “I think when he's ready to play, he'll play,” Counsell said. “We've exercised caution.”

Cardinals: C Willson Contreras (left wrist tendinitis) was placed on the 10-day IL after the game. He had an MRI taken before the game. He left Wednesday’s game in the sixth inning. … RHP Wilking Rodriguez (right shoulder) is scheduled to throw Saturday. He received an anti-inflammatory shot in his shoulder Wednesday to help with discomfort and swelling.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Corbin Burnes (9-8, 3.56) vs. Marlins’ TBA at Miami. Burnes will be making his 31st start of the season and first against the Marlins. Burns is looking for his first win since July 20 at Philadelphia, a span of 10 starts during which he is 0-3 with a 3.69 ERA.

Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (6-2, 5.12) vs. San Diego’s RHP Matt Waldron (1-3, 5.16). Hudson’s last start at Petco Park ended in a 12-2 loss. His own throwing error fueled a seven-run second inning highlighted by back-to-back home runs by Manny Machado and Franmil Reyes.

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