Knowing they would have to face the two new hired guns of the St. Louis pitching staff before the series is done, the Milwaukee Brewers launched a pre-emptive strike against the Cardinals incumbent ace Friday night.

Roughing up the usually indomitable Adam Wainwright like they never had before, the Brewers rolled to a convincing 7-4 victory at Busch Stadium.

The victory assured the Brewers would leave town in first place in the NL Central, no matter how they fare against trade acquisitions Justin Masterson and John Lackey in the other two games of the series.

Wainwright entered the game with a 13-5 record and 1.92 earned run average, the second-best mark in the league. But the Brewers beat him up for nine hits and seven runs over 5 1/3 innings and cruised behind a solid performance by Wily Peralta.

It was the most runs the Brewers ever scored against Wainwright, matching their total for his previous three starts against him. Just when it appeared the offense would never snap out of an extended skid, the Brewers have beaten David Price and Wainwright in consecutive games.

"I think it says a lot about our offense, that we were able to get to two really good starters," said Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who broke open the game with a three-run double in the sixth inning that chased Wainwright.

"It shows you how good we are whenever we're clicking and locked in. We had two or three weeks that were terrible. It's just a matter of everybody getting comfortable again and getting things flowing. Honestly, I think we're too good of a hitting team to be held down for too long."

Though giving Wainwright a rare beating, the Brewers actually could have done more damage. They finished with 12 hits and six walks but stranded 12 runners by going 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

But no one in the visiting clubhouse was complaining about a seven-spot against one of the best pitchers in the league.

"He just left some pitches up in the zone, which is very rare," said Lucroy, who caught Wainwright in the All-Star Game. "To me, he looked a little off, like he was up in the zone. He just had one of those games. He's usually locked in all game."

To Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez, Wainwright must always look "off." Ramirez tagged him for a homer in the second inning – the first such blow ever struck against Wainwright on a 3-0 pitch, an RBI double in the third and an infield hit in the fifth.