The Race in the NL CentralExtra innings were required on Tuesday night, but the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 to extend their lead in the National League Central to four games. With approximately one and a half months remaining in the 2011 season, the race for the NL Central title is shaping up nicely.
Until a few weeks ago, the NL Central race included four teams: the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers. Only two teams were all but eliminated. Those being the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. The Cubs made no significant moves at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and the Astros completely dismantled by trading Hunter Pence (traded to the Philadelphia Phillies) and Michael Bourn (traded to the Atlanta Braves).
Last night, the Brewers traveled to St. Louis to begin a three-game series at Busch Stadium. The Brewers entered the game holding a three-game lead over the second place Cardinals. With the win last night, the Brewers now sit atop the division by four games over the Cardinals, and 10 and a half games over the third place Pirates. The Brewers are 9-1 in their last 10 games, including their current five-game winning streak. They are playing phenomenal at home. At Miller Park this season, they are 41-15. But when they travel, their record is much different. With the win last night, they are now 10 games under .500 with a 25-35 record away from home.
On the other hand, the Cardinals have a winning record both at home and on the road. They are 29-25 at Busch Stadium, and 33-29 on the road. Despite last night's loss, the Cardinals are 6-4 during their last 10 games.
The Brewers and Cardinals still have eight games remaining against each other down the stretch. Five games in St. Louis (August 10-11, September 5-7) and three games in Milwaukee (August 30-September 1).