WP: Brent Suter (8-4)
LP: Carlos Martinez (3-4)
HR: Matt Carpenter (13), Manny Pina (5)
The night didn’t start out well for Brent Suter. On the first pitch of the game, Matt Carpenter homered to give the Cardinals a very early 1-0 lead. While it looked like it could be a bad game for Suter, it corrected very quickly. He retired the next 12 batters he saw, not allowing another base runner until the fifth inning. In the fifth, he hit Yadier Molina with a pitch, then Yairo Munoz drove him in on a double. That was all the Brewers starter allowed for runs, as he pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs and two hits, with one walk and five strikeouts.
Of course, the Brewers pitcher didn’t need much help tonight. In the bottom of the first, Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain hit back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second. With two outs, Jesus Aguilar hit a ball to deep left center field. Marcell Ozuna anticipated a home run and climbed the wall to catch it, but he badly misjudged the ball. It his lower and to the left, bouncing away and remaining in play. That was enough time for Yelich and Cain to score and put the Brewers up 2-1.
That would be an odd enough play to define a game, but it didn’t stop there. In the third, Lorenzo Cain reached base on an error, then came in and scored on Travis Shaw’s double. After Shaw advanced to third on a wild pitch, he then scored on one of the more unusual wild pitches you’ll see. Martinez went to deliver the pitch but appeared to want to stop mid-throw. He let the ball go (since not doing so would be a balk), but the ball flew towards the Cardinals dugout and gave Shaw the opportunity to score.
E5, double, two wild pitches, BB, E1 is how the Cardinals' third can be summed up. Brewers leading, 4-1, heading to the fourth.— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) June 22, 2018
The Brewers did not stop tacking on there. Manny Pina led off the fourth inning with a solo home run to up the lead to 5-1. The Brewers then used some more small ball to bring in another run, with a single from Thames, Walk from Yelich, and single from Cain making it 6-1, then a sac fly from Shaw made it 7-1.
The Brewers still weren’t done, though. In the seventh, Aguilar singled to lead off the inning, and Jonathan Villar reached base on an error to put two runners on base. With two outs, Hernan Perez came in to pinch hit and singled to load the bases. Eric Thames followed and hit a ball deep to center field. Cardinals center fielder Tommy Pham managed to get his glove on the ball and keep it in the ballpark, but it was enough to clear the bases as Thames tripled to up the lead to 10-2. He then scored as the Cardinals committed another error, as Jedd Gyorko threw a ball low and got by first baseman Jose Martinez, upping the Brewers lead to 11-2. Of the Brewers 11 runs tonight, only 5 were credited as earned runs.
Meanwhile, the Brewers bullpen made sure that the Cardinals would not get back into this game. Taylor Williams did get into trouble in the eighth as he allowed the first three batters to reach base, but struck out Tommy Pham and induced a double play from Jose Martinez to end the inning. In the ninth, three straight hits off Dan Jennings (a double and two singles) gave the Cardinals another run, but that was all the Cardinals could do as the Brewers won 11-3.
On offense, Eric Thames, Lorenzo Cain, Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar, and Manny Pina all put up two-hit days. Every starter (expect for Eric Sogard) reached base at least once, and that included starting pitcher Brent Suter, who drew a walk. The Brewers offense had four walks compared to five strikeouts, which is generally a welcome sight as well. In addition, they scored only one run on a home run, with the rest a result of some small ball and Cardinals errors.
One down note from tonight’s game. Lorenzo Cain had to come out in the fifth inning and was grabbing his right hamstring. Report from the Brewers is that it was a cramp and he was removed for precautionary reasons. We will have to monitor it and see if Cain is ok.
The series against the Cardinals continues tomorrow evening. Junior Guerra gets the ball again for the Brewers as they face Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals. First pitch is at 7:10 pm.