Houser (8-6) didn’t allow a runner until Nolan Arenado led off the fifth inning with a single. The 28-year-old righty struck out seven, walked none and blanked the playoff-contending Cardinals on 100 pitches.
This was Houser’s 51st start in the majors — he also started 114 times in the minors during a career that began in 2011 in the Houston organization.
Luis Urias led off the Milwaukee first with his 19th home run, the only run that Houser and the NL Central leaders needed.
Kwang Hyun Kim (6-7) had held Milwaukee to just two runs over 17 1/3 innings in three previous starts, but saw that double total in two innings.
The Brewers added three runs in the second on RBI singles by Rowdy Tellez and Urias and a ground-rule double by Luke Maile.
Kim exited with two outs in the second after Willy Adames got Milwaukee’s seventh hit.
Jake Woodford took over and threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with five strikeouts.
Cardinals: LHP Andrew Miller threw a bullpen session without issue and could return from the injured list sometime in the next week, manager Mike Shildt said.
Brewers: OF Avisail Garcia sat out a second straight game with a sore hamstring. The injury isn’t serious, according to manager Craig Counsell, but the Brewers are taking a cautious approach to get Garcia back to full strength for the stretch run.
The series wraps up Sunday with Brewers RHP Corbin Burnes (9-4, 2.27 ERA) facing off against Cardinals left-hander Jon Lester (5-6, 5.05).