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Brewers beat Cardinals 2-1, move back into tie for Wild Card spot

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Jhoulys Chacin pitches 6 scoreless innings and Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader help salvage a win

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals
Could Jhoulys start every game? Please?
Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Jhoulys Chacin (13-4); LP: John Gant (5-6); Save: Josh Hader (10); Home Runs: Mil - none; StL - Patrick Wisdom (1)

How about that, a winning Box Score!

The Milwaukee Brewers (69-57) moved back into a half-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals (68-57) by topping them 2-1 in St. Louis, behind more mound mastery from Jhoulys Chacin and just good enough relief work by Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader.

After wasting base runners in the first and second innings the Brewers finally broke through against Cardinals’ starter John Gant in the top of the third. Orlando Arcia opened the inning with a solid single into left center, and with Chacin up to bunt Lando got a great jump on a 2-1 pitch and easily stole second. Jhoulys pulled the bat back on a 3-2 pitch and his infield chopper to second moved Arcia to third,

With the infield in Christian Yelich had a hard grounder go right to second baseman Greg Garcia for the second out with Arcia holding. Lorenzo Cain walked, and Gant got ahead of Mike Moustakas 0-2 with two changeups, with Cain taking second without a throw on the second pitch. Gant tried to sneak another one past Moose, and he pulled it down the first base line for a two-RBI double. Jesus Aguilar’s bid for an RBI ended when his liner went straight at Matt Carpenter at first. 2-0 Brewers.

Milwaukee wasted a scoring chance in the top of the fifth. A one-out walk to Yelich and base hit by Cain ended Gant’s day, and lefty Brett Cecil came in. Moustakas’ grounder to first moved up both runners and the Redbirds intentionally walked Aguilar, giving Travis Shaw a chance with the bags fully loaded, but he fouled out to first.

The Cardinals threatened that two-run deficit with a Cardinal-esque bottom of the sixth. Matt Carpenter led off the inning with a bunt hit that he barely beat (Chacin made a nice barehanded pickup and throw from his back, but his throw just didn’t have enough oomph). Yadier Molina tried for the hit-and-run, and hit it in the right direction but in the air to right for the first out of the inning. Yadi got a nice rest by never running at all.

Tyler O’Neall’s ground ball was hit slowly enough to turn into a fielder’s choice, and Chacin got ahead of Marcell Ozuna 0-2 on two fastballs...but a third fastball was grounded up the middle for a single, sending O’Neall to third. Chacin struck out De Jong on a sinker for the second time in a row, and his day was done. He finished with six innings, four hits allowed, no runs, no walks, and three K’s. He did hit a batter, but apparently last night’s bench warning was no longer in effect.

A well-rested Jeremy Jeffress took over and worked a 1-2-3 seventh, but he hung a curveball to rookie pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom, and he drilled it well out to left center to cut the lead in half at 2-1. That was Wisdom’s first career dinger. Matt Carpenter’s long fly ball to center was hauled in by Cain at the wall in center. Exhale. A grounder and strikeout ended the inning.

That brought on a REALLY well rested Josh Hader for the save opp. He struck out the first two, but Jedd Gyorko took a fastball to the wall in right that defensive replacement Keon Broxton hauled in while hitting the wall. Whew! That’s ten saves for #Haderade, and a desperately needed win for Milwaukee.

The Pirates beat the Cubs (also 2-1) in extras today, so Milwaukee is back in second and trail the Lakeview Nine by 3.5 games.

With the road trip finally over the Brewers return to Miller Park tomorrow night for the first game of a three game set with the Cincinnati Reds. Chase Anderson’s start was bumped back from Sunday in favor of Chacin, and he will put his 7-7, 3.97 ERA numbers on the line against the Reds’ Homer Bailey, who has an unsightly record of 1-10, 6.33 ERA. Why does that make me nervous?

Game Notes

  • You know those Leinie’s ads where the guy does the cannonball off of the end of the pier? I have come to the conclusion that the splash has been augmented in some way. Truth in advertising!
  • You can’t blame Jhoulys Chacin for the bad road trip. In starts against the Cubs and Cardinals, he worked 13 shutout innings, allowing 7 hits and two walks with 13 strikeouts. He had the win in both of the Crew’s victories in Chicago and St. Louis.
  • As the game went into the ninth, a panoramic shot from centerfield revealed that quite a few of the Best Fans in Baseball had departed in a 2-1 game.
  • The Brewers had their leadoff hitter reach in the first, seventh, and eighth innings, only to have them immediately erased with double plays. (In the seventh, Eric Thames reached on a walk and took off on a 3-2 pitch; Yelich lined directly to second for the easy DP.) In the top of the ninth, Ryan Braun walked on four pitches, so Craig Counsell had Erik Kratz sac bunt him to second, which he did to perfection! Didn’t end up mattering, though. Arcia and pinch-hitter Hernan Perez struck out to end the inning.
  • Those last two K’s gave the Brewers just three for the game...how un-Brewerlike.