WP: Matt Garza (3-2) LP: Mike Leake (5-6) Save: Corey Knebel (10) Homeruns: Mil - Eric Thames (17); St.L Alednys Diaz (7)
The Milwaukee Brewers waited out two rain delays and some tense moments late to knock off division rival St. Louis 7-6. Matt Garza worked five innings for his third win of the season and Corey Knebel closed things out after the final showers finally left. An early 6-0 Brewers’ lead almost evaporated, but not quite.
Two more first inning runs added to the Brewers magic in that frame. After Eric Sogard worked a rare walk from Mike Leake, Eric (The Other) Thames drilled a change-up into the Cardinals’ bullpen for his 17th homer of the season.
Leake’s shaky start continued into the second inning, and Milwaukee added four runs. Keon Broxton drew a four pitch walk and took second on a groundout by Orlando Arcia. Garza singled sharply to right (really!) moving Broxton to third, and both came around to score on a gapper double to left by Sogard. Thames doubled in Sogard, and one out later Travis Shaw plated Thames on a single to right.
Garza’s jaunt around the bases must have worn him out. He had a perfect first, but gave up four contiguous base knocks and five in six batters to pull St. Louis back into the game at 6-4.
It didn’t look good for either starter at that point, but both settled down to keep the score the same through the sixth inning - Garza with relief help from Jared Hughes in the sixth. In fact, Garza only face three batters in four of his five innings, and left with the lead.
Leake worked through the sixth, allowing 3 singles in his last 4 innings. But Kevin Seagrist gave up a run in the top of the seventh when Hernan Perez singled home Domingo Santana, who had reached on a one out double. Perez’ two out single put the Brewers up 7-4 into the bottom of the seventh.
But the bottom of the seventh decided to not be played for a while. The rains that had been predicted arrived, and quick work by the Busch grounds crew got the tarp out and kept the delay to less than an hour. Once play resumed, Carlos Torres relieved Hughes and worked a scoreless frame despite a two out walk and hit batsman.
After a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, Jacob Barnes took the hill for Milwaukee. Pitching through an increasingly heavy storm, Barnes worked to a two strike, two out, one on pitch to Alednyz Diaz. Diaz lined it just fair and just out of the park down the leftfield line to pull the Cards to within a run. Laz Diaz (coincidence?, yeah, I’d guess so) decided at that point to bring out the tarp...a batter late. But if Barnes had retired Diaz, the game might have just been called.
But the game did resume, and Brewer manager Craig Counsell opted to go with closer Corey Knebel to try and get the four out save. It took Knebel just one pitch to end the eighth on a liner to third by Jose Martinez. After a scoreless top of the ninth, Knebel returned to the mound.
Corey fell behind the first three hitters 3-0 but worked back for a groundout and another lineout before Matt Carpenter reached for the fourth straight time when he singled to right. For the second straight night Knebel saved his strikeout for the last batter as Dexter Fowler went down on a checked swing to end the marathon. That takes the Brewers’ closer to 35 consecutive appearances with at least one strikeout, just two behind the major league record.
The Brewers 35-32) will try for their third straight win over the Cardinals tomorrow night with Zach Davies (7-3, 4.74) facing the Cards’ Michael Wacha (3-3, 4.50). St. Louis sits at 30-34. Milwaukee remains in first, now two games up on the Chicago Cubs, losers to the New York Mets tonight 9-4.