Brewers too hot at home for Cardinals

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Milwaukee capitalized on their home-field advantage once again Monday with a 6-2 win over the St Louis Cardinals to extend their lead in the NL Central.

The Brewers (61-49) improved their home record to 40-14, the best in Major League Baseball, and opened up a 3.5-game lead over the Cardinals (57-52).

"I know when we come home we're going to play well. I still can't tell you what the reasons are," manager Ron Roenicke told reporters.

"It's a feeling that the guys have at home. They know they're going to play well and it goes a long way."

Nyjer Morgan broke a 2-2 tie with a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning as the Brewers seized the momentum with five runs and cruised to their seventh consecutive victory.

Milwaukee pitcher Zack Greinke (9-4) allowed a two-run homer to Matt Holliday in the first but regrouped to complete six innings and strike out five batters to pick up the win.

Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young winner, fared better than former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter who allowed five runs in five innings to take the loss for St. Louis.

Jonathan Lucroy and Corey Hart added RBIs in the critical fifth to foil Carpenter, who had allowed just one hit entering the inning.

"I made a couple of bad pitches, got the ball up a few different times," Carpenter said. "But I had some tough breaks. That's going to happen when you're facing a tough club like these guys."

The Cardinals have lost four of six to fall behind the Brewers.

Trailing 5-2 in the seventh, the visitors had hope of a rally with two runners on base and Albert Pujols at the plate but the St. Louis slugger grounded out to cap an 0-for-4 day.

Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun added an RBI double in the seventh to complete the scoring.

St. Louis' newly acquired shortstop Rafael Furcal, who arrived in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, singled and scored in the first.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Ransom)