"I don't have an explanation for it," the Milwaukee Brewers cleanup man said after setting the tone with a home run and an RBI double off the St. Louis Cardinals' ace in a 7-4 victory Friday night. "He's been one of the best pitchers in the game for a while.
"I don't know, for some reason I get good swings and good pitches to hit."
Ramirez has three homers, eight doubles and eight RBIs to go with a .415 average against Wainwright, the best in the majors against the right-hander. The homer was the first Wainwright has ever allowed on a 3-0 count.
"After the fact I probably should have been ready for it," Wainwright said. "He had no reason not to (swing) right there."
Wily Peralta won his 13th game to tie for the National League lead and Jonathan Lucroy's bases-clearing double chased Wainwright (13-6) in a four-run sixth inning that put Milwaukee up by six. The NL Central leaders are three games ahead of the Cardinals.
"Whenever you're down in the zone with 95 mph sinkers and throwing offspeed early in the count for strikes, it's tough for the opposing team," Lucroy said.
Peralta, Wainwright and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw all have 13 wins. Last year, the 25-year-old Peralta was 11-15 with a 4.37 ERA in his first full season in the majors.
Peralta (13-6) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings to win his fourth straight start. He's given up two or fewer runs in all of them, a stretch that began with seven innings of three-hit ball and no earned runs at home against the Cardinals on July 13.
Ramirez hit his 13th homer leading off the second, made it 2-0 with an RBI double in the third and had an infield hit in the fifth.
Francisco Rodriguez got the final out for his 32nd save in 36 chances.
Brewers: Kyle Lohse (11-5, 3.07) and Matt Garza (7-7, 3.74) are both being moved up a day to counter the Cardinals slotting their two new acquisitions, Justin Masterson (4-6, 5.51) and John Lackey (11-7, 3.60) on Saturday and Sunday. The Brewers' scheduled Saturday starter, Jimmy Nelson, was scratched due to a blister.
Cardinals: Masterson, acquired from the Indians for prospect James Ramsey, was activated from the 15-day disabled list from right knee inflammation that sidelined him July 8.
Brewers: Second baseman Scooter Gennett was a lineup scratch with a bruised left index finger sustained bunting in early batting practice. He's day to day. Left fielder Khris Davis was taken out due to left calf tightness in the seventh and was replaced by Gerardo Parra.
WAY OFF FORM
Wainwright entered among the NL leaders with a 1.92 ERA and had pitched at least seven innings in eight of his previous nine starts. He has allowed seven runs twice this season, both at home, lasting just 4 1-3 innings in a loss to the Giants on May 30.
After removing Wainwright in the sixth, Matheny was ejected for continuing to argue about an appeal that was denied. Jean Segura waited for Elian Herrera's bloop hit to drop in shallow center and barely beat a throw for a force attempt. The safe call was upheld and Matheny was still hot after the game.
"I think we've gotten to the point now where we've taken a lot of emotion out of the game and you can't even say anything to these guys without getting tossed out of the game," Matheny said. "I don't think that was the intention of this.
"We've got to be able to go out and fight for our guys."