Ride my seesaw...
The Brewers and Cards traded the lead back and forth tonight, going from a 1-0 Brewer lead to a 2-1 Cardinal lead to a 3-2 Brewers lead to a 3-3 tie into the bottom of the eighth.
The Brewers struck first in the bottom of the second on a Chris Carter homer to dead center. Carter had another almost lazy swing that saw the ball just jump off of his bat on a misplaced fastball by Michael Wacha.
The Cardinals quickly grabbed the lead back in the top of the third. Jimmy Nelson walked Wacha, and three straight singles later two had scored. Both RBI hits were groundballs up the middle...solidly struck, but those have been double plays plenty of times this year with all of the shifting the Brewers do. No shifts in either of those at bats, though.
Nelson got the first out in the sixth inning and then walked Yadier Molina, followed up by a bloop double down the leftfield line by Randall Grichuk. With runners at second and third Craig Counsell ordered yet another intentional walk to load the bases, with the 9 and 1 hitters coming up. After walking Wacha twice, the Brewers finally got an out with the pitcher up when the Cards tried a squeeze bunt. Nelson’s toss forced Molina at home, and the Brewers escaped disaster when Greg Garcia’s line drive to left momentarily froze Ryan Braun, but Braun caught it going back to end the threat.
The Brewers finally solved Wacha in the bottom of the sixth with back to back homers from Jonathon Lucroy and Carter. Luc’s homer bounced off of the top of the wall in left center and out. Carter’s was not so close...into the second deck in deep right center. Just like that it was 3-2 Brewers.
Tyler Thornburg pitched a scoreless seventh, but Yadier Molina golfed a Will Smith slider off the ground and out to left to tie the game.
After Smith retired Garcia on strikes to start the ninth, Jeremy Jeffress was brought in to face the heart of the Cards’ order. Aledmys Diaz bounced to short but Jonathon Villar made another ninth inning error, Tommy Pham singled to right, Stephen Piscotty hit a short fly to right, and the Cards were down to pinchhitter Jhonny Peralta. A passed ball by Lucroy put the runners on second and third before Peralta flew out to the wall in deep right. You could feel the collective sigh of relief from the home crowd all around Milwaukee.
Trevor Rosenthal started the bottom of the ninth for the Cards, and walked Kirk Nieuwenhuis on a 3-2 pitch. Hernan Perez successfully bunted Nieuwenhuis to second, but Rosenthal injured his right leg on his second pitch to Ramon Flores. Closer Seung Hwan Oh was called into the game and got all of the time that he needed to warm up while Flores cooled his heels.
Rosenthal was the third Cardinal to leave the game with an injury. Matt Holliday rolled his right ankle rounding first on a seventh inning single, and Michael Wacha was hit in the right ankle by a line drive by Jonathan Villar. (Villar’s ball unfortunately went directly to thirdbaseman Garcia for a 1-5-3 out.) Already short Matt Carpenter and Brendan Moss, the Cards were running out of players.
Oh hit Flores in the leg on a 2-2 pitch, and the Brewers sent up Andy Wilkins to hit for Jeffress. Wilkins continued the ninth spot’s performance by striking out looking, the fourth time that spot had fanned. How do three guys share a Golden Sombrero?
Jonathan Villar did the shorthanded Cards a favor by driving Oh’s 3-2 fastball for a single on the ground to left to score Nieuwenhuis with the winning run. (After a review, of course). The Brewers picked up their third win in ten games against the Cards, and a positive end to the first half is still possible. (The Brewers are 1-0 in the post-Aaron Hill era.)
Saturday afternoon’s game has Carlos Martinez (7-6, 2.90) for the 44-42 Cards facing Chase Anderson (4-9, 5.49) for the 38-47 Brewers.