The Brewers and Cardinals endured three rain delays at Busch III Stadium today, but it was harder to take for the Crew. The game ended at 8:00 pm CDT, and the Brewers still had to get to DC for tomorrow's 10:00 AM CDT game. Plus, the Brewers suffered through another sloppy (both performance and field conditions) game, losing 9-8.
St. Louis got the scoring started with a solo home run from Aledmys Diaz in the bottom of the first, served up by starter Chase Anderson.
The Brewers got their first lead of the series in the top of the fourth when a Ramon Flores double down the right field line scored Aaron Hill and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis narrowly missed a homer on a double off of the right field wall.
That lead lasted about ten minutes. With a lead, Anderson walked Jhonny Peralta leading off the bottom of the inning. After a fly to center from Yadier Molina, Anderson doubled down on his poor pitching by walking number eight hitter Tommy Pham. Card’s starting pitcher Michael Wacha attempted a sacrifice bunt but the Brewers forced Peralta at third. Anderson then left a fastball right down the middle to Matt Carpenter, who did his job with the mistake by singling to right center. Game tied at two. Carpenter is now hitting about .500 against the Brewers this year.
In the fifth, Anderson gave up a deep fly to Matt Holliday and then walked Stephen Piscotty. Craig Counsell had seen enough...by my count, Brewer outfielders caught five flyballs on the track, besides the homer from Diaz, and Chase had walked 5. Reliever Jacob Barnes got ahead of Brandon Moss but hung a 3-2 slider that Moss ripped into the right field corner.
Flores made a nice play in right but Gennett dropped his throw in with a play at the plate a definite possibility. Piscotty scored standing up, with Moss taking third. Peralta’s sac fly to center scored Moss, and it was 4-2.
Michael Blazek took over after the Brewers failed to score in the top of the sixth, striking out three times around Flores’ second hit of the game. Pham doubled literally off the top of the wall to lead off the inning, and Blazek got two outs and walked two before Counsell brought in Blaine Boyer. Boyer hung a 3-2 slider to Piscotty, and Piscotty did what HE is paid to do by driving it into the second deck in left for a grand slam. 8-2 Cardinals, and they got two more on base before Boyer got the third out.
The Brewers made some noise in the top of the seventh off of deposed closer Trevor Rosenthal by starting the inning with three singles and a walk. Lucroy's single scored Scooter Gennett, and with the bases loaded and nobody out the Cards went to Matt Bowman. Aaron Hill's slow chop to third saw Ryan Braun forced at the plate, and with a 2-2 count on Nieuwenhuis the rains returned for a 55 minute delay.
When play resumed Nieuwenhuis tapped a roller to the left of Bowman. Rather than take the force at home Bowman went to first, and Kirk had an RBI. With runners at second and third Flores was denied his third hit of the game when Bowman speared his liner up the middle. 8-4 into the bottom of the seventh.
Jhan Marinez worked the bottom of the seventh and allowed a run on two hits and a walk. A scoreless eighth took the game to the top of the ninth at 9-4.
The Cardinals taunted the Brewers by letting them score four in the top of the ninth before Martin Maldonado ended the game by failing to check a swing on a pitch a foot off the corner with the tying run at second. The Brewers opened the inning with singles from Braun (his fourth hit of the game) and Lucroy (his third), and a hit by pitch for Chris Carter. These all came from newly recalled reliever Sam Tuivailala; new closer Seung Hwan Oh (the final boss...that may be a nickname and not a literal translation) replaced him. Oh walked Hill to make it 9-5, and Nieuwenhuis took an outside fastball down the left field line and high off the wall - probably about 3 feet shy of a game tying homer - to plate two, making it 9-7 with runners at second and third. Ramon Flores had hit the ball hard three straight times but was called out on a pitch about 6" outside.
Hernan Perez drove in the Brewers eighth run with a grounder to short for the second out, with Nieuwenhuis holding at second. Villar (who had ANOTHER Golden Sombrero with four strikeouts) avoided whatever a five strikeout game is by walking on a 3-2 pitch. Facing a choice of Maldonado or (Keon) Broxton (or maybe Matt Garza), the Brewers went with Maldy and the rally fell short.
The Brewers will hurry to DC for the aforementioned morning tilt, a battle of the aces with Junior Guerra (5-1, 3.25) set to face Max Scherzer (9-5, 3.30), The Brewers sit at 35-46, while the Nats continue to lead the East at 50-33. See you then!