MILWAUKEE (AP) — Rhys Hoskins, Jake Bauers and Joey Ortiz each homered to cool Sonny Gray as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the slumping St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 on Thursday night.

It was the fifth straight loss for the Cardinals, who opened a four-game series with the NL Central-leading Brewers.

William Contreras and Christian Yelich each went 3 of 4 for the Brewers. Jared Koenig (4-1) earned the win after pitching two scoreless innings of relief and working his way out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth.

Gray (4-2) has been one of the last-place Cardinals’ few bright spots since signing a three-year, $75 million contract in the offseason, but the 2023 Al Cy Young Award runner-up couldn’t stop St. Louis’ slide.

Through his first five starts, Gray allowed a total of six runs, and only three were earned. His 0.89 ERA was the lowest since 1910 by any Cardinals pitcher in his first five appearances with the organization.

The Brewers scored six runs off Gray on Thursday during his five-inning stint. Gray had given up just one homer all year before the Brewers went deep against him three times.

Milwaukee took the lead for good by scoring three runs in the first inning. It was the first time this season Gray had allowed a run before the fifth.

A two-out wild pitch from Gray brought home Contreras, who singled earlier in the inning. Hoskins, whose dog was watching from the stands as part of the Brewers’ “Bark at the Park” promotion, followed with a two-run homer over the wall in right-center field.

Bauers extended the lead to 4-0 by leading off the second with a 417-foot shot into the second deck of the right-field stands. After St. Louis’ Lars Nootbaar homered in the third, Ortiz made it 5-1 by delivering a 408-foot drive to center with two outs in the fourth.

Ortiz, who didn’t play in the Brewers’ 6-4 loss at Kansas City on Wednesday, has homered in each of his last two games.

The Cardinals wasted a couple of chances to get back into the game.

St. Louis brought the tying run to the plate with no outs in the fourth while trailing 4-1, but Dylan Carlson grounded into a double play and Masyn Winn struck out. The Cardinals then loaded the bases off Tobias Myers to start the fifth, but Koenig came out of the bullpen and got the next three outs without letting anyone score.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said “everything went well” in catcher Willson Contreras’ surgery Wednesday. Contreras broke his left forearm Tuesday when he was hit by a swing from J.D. Martinez in the Cardinals’ 7-5 loss to the New York Mets. Contreras is expected to return sometime after the All-Star break.

UP NEXT

LHP Robert Gasser is expected to make his major league debut for the Brewers on Friday. RHP Lance Lynn (1-0, 3.28) is pitching for the Cardinals.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb