Berkman may meet his match in Wolf

By Jesse Sanchez,

Something has to give when the Cardinals and the Brewers square off for the first time this season Friday in St. Louis.

Cardinals slugger Lance Berkman, who went 1-for-2 with a home run in Thursday’s 6-3 victory against the Marlins, ranks among the National League leaders with 10 home runs. He leads the Major Leagues with 32 RBIs and is hitting .392 for the season.

“I’m just going up there and trying to have good at-bats,” Berkman said. “It’s been a good run.”

Opposing Berkman is Brewers starter Randy Wolf, who is 3-0 in his past four games, all quality starts. He received a no-decision at Houston on Friday, but allowed just four hits and one earned run in seven innings.

Here’s what else to consider entering Friday’s NL Central showdown:

• Berkman has hit safely in 18 of 21 games and has reached base safely in 25 of 29 games.

• Wolf has allowed only four earned runs in 33 2/3 innings over his last five starts.

• Berkman sports a .321 career batting average in 150 career games against the Brewers.

• Wolf has shut down Berkman in the past, limiting him to just three hits in 27 at-bats and holding him to a .111 batting average in his career against him.

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia could be the difference Friday. Garcia won three of his first four starts as he allowed a total of four earned runs. But he has allowed six earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two outings, both no-decisions.

He was charged with three earned runs on five hits in six innings against the Braves in his last start.

Overall, Garcia is 2-2 with a 3.90 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

Brewers: Going solo with the long ball
Each of the Brewers’ last eight home runs have come without a runner on base. Overall, 21 of the club’s 32 home runs this season have been solo shots.

• Pitcher Manny Parra, who had back problems in Spring Training, has been shut down after an examination by team physician William Raasch revealed an ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his elbow as well as a flexor tendon strain. He will not be allowed to throw for a week.

Cardinals: Looking to turn it around at home
The Cardinals are 2-3 this month following the four-game split against the Marlins this week in St. Louis. Overall, the club is 8-8 at home in 2011 and will play nine more games at Busch Stadium this month. The club is 10-6 on the road.

• Cardinals reliever Bryan Augenstein, who strained his right groin in a game against the D-backs on April 12, threw for the third straight day. There is no timetable for his return.

Worth noting
Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker, who is out with a right triceps injury, has been taking ground balls but has not yet been cleared to throw or hit. He could begin hitting on Sunday. … The Brewers recalled Mike McClendon from Nashville on Thursday and optioned right-handed reliever Sean Green to Triple-A Nashville.

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