MILWAUKEE -- Zack Greinke and Corey Hart showed the Brewers what they were missing at this time last year.Greinke was "as good as it gets" over seven scoreless innings, to borrow his manager's assessment, and Hart hammered two long home runs in the Brewers' 6-0 win over the Cardinals on Saturday that erased Friday's ugly home opener. Both Greinke and Hart began last season on the Brewers' disabled list -- Greinke with a cracked rib suffered playing pickup basketball, and Hart with a strained rib-cage muscle from a Spring Training slip in some wet grass. Hart wasn't himself until mid-May, nor Greinke until early June. This year, the Brewers hope to get a full, healthy season from both. "It makes a difference," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "Last year, we didn't have those two guys together for quite a while." Hart played his first 2011 game on April 24. Greinke made his Brewers debut last May 4. "It's definitely better" to start the season healthy, Greinke said. "I felt fine when I came back last year, it's just the results weren't there. I wasn't as sharp as I should have been." Both Greinke (1-0) and Hart were sharp on Saturday. Hart logged three RBIs in his 12th career multihomer game, and just as easily could have been playing for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday night in New Orleans. Hart underwent surgery March 6 for torn cartilage in his right knee and mounted an aggressive rehabilitation that included five Minor League games, then two exhibitions against the D-backs and a spot in Milwaukee's Opening Day lineup for the first time in three years. He doubled in Friday's losing opener but waited until Saturday to really announce his arrival. Hart put the Brewers on the board in the second inning against St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, the ace right-hander making his first start since the Tommy John elbow surgery that cost him all of 2011. Wainwright (0-1) was very sharp over his first five innings except for one pitch, a sinker that Hart hit to the left-field bleachers, where the baseball struck the concrete steps and nearly bounced to the base of Bernie Brewer's home run slide. The Brewers said it traveled 447 feet. "The trainers did a great job of pushing me to see if I even could be here," Hart said. Hart added another booming home run to cap Milwaukee's three-run sixth inning, this a two-run shot to center field after reliever Victor Marte had replaced Wainwright. "He's really seeing the ball well," Roenicke said. "He's not jumping out at pitches, which is really hard to do when you miss that kind of time." By the time Hart hit his second homer, Greinke was in total control. He held the Cardinals scoreless on four hits over seven innings, striking out seven batters without a walk. Greinke threw 91 pitches, and the Cards managed to move only two runners to second base: David Freese in the fifth inning on an infield single and another hit that ticked off second baseman Rickie Weeks' glove, and Rafael Furcal in the sixth on a single and a wild pitch. Neither runner made it to third. "That's as good as it gets," Roenicke said. "That's what we saw [from Greinke] in Spring Training, which is tremendous velocity, and life on the velocity. ... If he does this for us, all this year, he's going to have some kind of year." Greinke touched 95 mph with multiple fastballs and got as low as 65 mph with his final pitch, a curveball low and away that froze Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for a called third strike that ended the seventh inning. "I try to throw it even lower," Greinke said. Molina owned one of the handful of hard-hit balls off Greinke, a flyout to deep center field in the fifth inning. "He was outstanding today," Cards first baseman Lance Berkman said. "We faced him a few times last year and this was as good as I've seen him in terms of the late movement and the location. He just really didn't throw a lot over the plate to hit. He's just tough. We knew we were going to have our hands full, and we did."
It was a significant turnaround from Greinke's final Spring Training start, a stinker against the White Sox on Monday that was so bad Greinke had trouble remembering one particularly tough sequence just a few minutes later."Sometimes it's good for me to get hit a little bit," Greinke said. "It helps me to get back to remembering and making sure you get stuff right. I guess that's a good time for it to happen -- in Spring Training. That was a bad start, too. Everything was bad." Rickie Weeks also homered, and the Brewers improved to 18-0 when Greinke starts at Miller Park, including two wins in last year's postseason. He owns a 13-0 record in those games. Wainwright took the loss but had a healthy return to action. He was charged with three runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings. Wainwright walked one and struck out six. "I saw the great pitcher that he was, [even with] the velocity not what he used to pitch at," Roenicke said. "It's incredible that a guy can pitch at lower velocity and still do whatever he wants to do. He is really impressive. This is a true, legitimate No. 1 starter." "It was big for us today to come back and show we're a good team," Hart said. "It's going to be a battle all year."