ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers hoped Yovani Gallardo would settle down and stop the St. Louis Cardinals.
Instead, he went wild.
Albert Pujols hit an RBI double during a four-run first inning against Gallardo and the Brewers never quite recovered, dropping to the Cardinals 4-3 Wednesday night and falling into a 2-1 deficit in the NL championship series.
"When you make mistakes like we did the first inning, they're going to get their hits, they're going to score some runs," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Gallardo, who's 1-7 with a career 5.66 ERA against the Cardinals, trailed 2-0 after his first 12 pitches and barely made it out of the opening inning.
The 17-game winner walked three, one of them intentional, and the Brewers had Chris Narveson up in the bullpen before Yadier Molina grounded into a run-scoring double play for Gallardo's first outs.
Gallardo trudged to the dugout after his 33-pitch ordeal that included RBI doubles by Jon Jay and David Freese.
"I think I made a good pitch to Jay," Gallardo said. "I tried to go up and in with a fastball and I was able to do that and he just hit it out to the outfield. And to Pujols, it might have been a little bit up and over the plate but I thought it was a good pitch."
In all, Gallardo lasted five innings and gave up eight hits, walked five (two intentional) and tied an NLCS record with three wild pitches. He struck out two.
The Cardinals' 4-0 lead seemed as if it would be plenty with ace Chris Carpenter pitching. It was, barely, thanks in large part to a 12-up-and-12-down performance by the St. Louis bullpen.
Four relievers - Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn, Marc Rzepczynski and Jason Motte - were perfect over the final four innings.
Milwaukee chipped away at Carpenter with two runs in the second on singles by Rickie Weeks, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Yuniesky Betancourt, and a sacrifice fly by Gallardo. Mark Kotsay's homer leading off the third made it a one-run game.
Carpenter, coming off a shutout against Philadelphia in the deciding game of the divisional series, wasn't nearly as sharp this time.
"We got to 4-3 and I felt good," Roenicke said. "I felt we were going to score some more runs."
Carpenter labored through five innings, giving up six hits and walking three (one intentional) and striking out three.
"It was a battle all night long," Carpenter said. "My stuff was OK, but these guys worked me hard."
The Brewers had runners on base in every inning against him. Weeks struck out with two on to end the fifth. But Milwaukee couldn't touch the St. Louis bullpen.
"It's not going to work very often that you can put four zeros against their offense," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
Jason Motte, who had two saves lasting more than inning in September, and another in Game 2 of the division series at Philadelphia, got four outs for this save. He fanned pinch-hitter Casey McGehee to end it.
Carpenter won his seventh postseason game to tie Bob Gibson's franchise record, but with none of the brilliance of his three-hit win over Roy Halladay and the favored Phillies in Game 5 of the first round. Nearly half of his 89 pitches were balls.
The starters' ineffectiveness was surprising considering their track records.
Carpenter has been clutch throughout his career in the postseason, going 7-2 with a 3.14 ERA in 12 games. Gallardo allowed only two runs in 21 innings, a minuscule 0.86 ERA, before Game 3.
Kyle Lohse, pitching on 12 days' rest, starts Game 4 Thursday for the wild-card Cardinals against Randy Wolf.
The Cardinals batted around against Gallardo in the first. Pujols delivered an RBI double after starring in a Game 2 win with a home run and three doubles.
St. Louis had its chances to break away later, but hit into three double plays and stranded nine runners.
Luckily for the Brewers, Carpenter didn't have his "A" game, either. He walked none in that gem against the Phillies, but already had a walk and a hit batsman in the Brewers' first three plate appearances.
Carpenter escaped with help from Kotsay, who strayed too far off second on Prince Fielder's lineout to center and was doubled off the bag by Jay's strong throw to end the inning.
Kotsay got a spot start in place of Nyjer Morgan, partly because he's 4 for 11 against Carpenter. Morgan flied out to start the seventh as a pinch hitter and was roundly booed throughout the at-bat.
Ryan Braun and Fielder each entered the game hitting .500 in the NLCS with a combined seven RBIs. They were a combined 1 for 6 with no runs or RBIs Wednesday.
"We competed," Braun said. "We had plenty of chances. It's a tough game and just get ready for tomorrow."
NOTES: The Brewers have lost eight straight postseason road games since beating St. Louis 10-1 in Game 1 of the 1982 World Series. ... Hall of Famer Stan Musial made a pregame appearance at home plate via golf cart, and was flanked by fellow Cardinals Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst. ... Pujols has 16 postseason walks, moving past Jim Edmonds for the franchise record. ... Betancourt singled his first two trips and had been on a 10-for-18 run before a flyout in the sixth.