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Broxton’s game saving catch keys Brewers on to series split with Cardinals

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Santana and Villar powered the offense.

St Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Box Score

After getting embarrassed by the visiting Cardinals in game one yesterday at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers sent Chase Anderson to the hill this afternoon to face off against Carlos Martinez in the series finale.

Things got off on the wrong foot for Chase, making his third start since coming back off the disabled list. He walked Matt Carpenter to lead off the game, and then Tommy “Hall of” Pham came to the plate and sent Anderson’s 11th pitch of the game over the wall in center field to give St. Louis a quick 2-0 lead. Anderson quickly settled in after that, retiring the next 14 men he faced. With two outs in the 5th innings, Randal Grichuk put St. Louis on the board once again, clubbing a solo homer. Chase wound up completing 6.0 innings, with the only two hits he gave up being those long balls for 3 earned runs with two walks and six strikeouts.

Milwaukee’s offense got things going in the second inning. A one-out single by Domingo Santana was followed by a Stephen Vogt single to put runners on first and third. Jonathan Villar then tapped a ball back to Martinez, who threw wildly to second while attempting to start a double play that allowed Santana to score. With runners once again on first and third, Hernan Perez punched a single through the left side to plate Milwaukee’s second run of the inning. Chase Anderson struck out on a foul bunt to make it two outs and bring Eric Sogard to the plate. Nerd Power delivered, lining a single to right field to bring in Villar and give Milwaukee a 3-2 lead.

Milwaukee put another three-spot up in the 6th inning, and even though all the runs came courtesy of homers they still counted the same as the ones they scored earlier in the game by putting the ball in play. Santana lead off the bottom of the frame with his 22nd home run of the season, a solo shot to make it 4-2. Vogt followed and reached on an error by the Cardinals’ third baseman Carpenter, which brought Jonathan Villar to the plate. Villar sent a 94 MPH fastball over the wall in center field to push the Brewers’ lead to 6-2. Villar’s 10th home run of the season made a little bit of franchise history:

Josh Hader came on to relieve Anderson in the top of the 7th and pitched a scoreless inning before coming back out to start the 8th. Jose Martinez blooped a lead off single into center field and then moved up to 2nd on a ground out by Carpenter. Manager Craig Counsell then made a move a double switch to bring on Anthony Swarzak to pitch and Keon Broxton to play center field, replacing Hernan Perez.

The move didn’t initially go as Counsell hoped, as Pham took Swarzak deep for his second homer of the game and his 19th of the season. Swarzak settled down to retire the next two batters and end the inning. The game went to the ninth inning with Milwaukee clinging to a 6-5 lead.

Corey Knebel came on to close things out in the top of the ninth, and that pesky Yadier Molina lead off the frame with a ground ball single through the hole. Knebel struck out the next two batters, his 105th and 106th K’s of the season. That brought Grichuk up the plate once again, and on Knebel’s fourth pitch of the at-bat, this happened:

Hard to argue that this was the catch of the year so far for Milwaukee, with Keon pulling back what would’ve been a two-run homer to give St. Louis the lead. Counsell should get plenty of credit for inserting Broxton into the game late to shore up the defense in center field.

The 6-5 victory gives Milwaukee (69-64) a split in their brief two-game set with St. Louis, and tomorrow they’ll welcome the Washington Nationals (81-51) into town for a four-game series. Zach Davies (15-7, 3.91 ERA) is scheduled to face off against Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 2.40 ERA). The Rockies lost earlier today so Milwaukee closed to within 3.0 games in the Wild Card race. The Cubs face Pirates later tonight and if they lose, the Brewers will close to within 2.5 games in the NL Central.