WP: Taylor Williams (1-3); LP: Austin Gomber (6-2); Save: none; Homeruns: Mil - Jesus Aguilar (34), Ryan Braun 2 (17,18), Christian Yelich (33); StL - Yadier Molina (20)
A Bombs Away Box Score!
The St. Louis Cardinals (87-71) did a nice job tonight of getting the first two outs in an inning against the Milwaukee Brewers (91-67). In fact, they did it in six of the nine innings, and in the three innings that they didn’t, the Brewers only scored one run. But in four of those six innings, with two down Milwaukee scored 11 runs. Let that sink in for a minute. Two outs, nobody on...and the Crew proceeded to score ELEVEN times. Goodness.
Well...the Cubs lost, but I’m gonna wait to summarize things until we see if the D’Backs can hold off the Dodgers.
The D’Backs couldn’t hold off the Dodgers, but they walked them off in the bottom of the ninth. With the Rockies rolling over the Phillies again, we now have Milwaukee a half game back of the Cubs in the Central, and the Rox a half game back of the Dodgers in the West. The Brewers lead the Cards by four with four left, and have clinched home field if the Brewers and Cards are the Wild Card teams. But the Cards now trail the Rockies by a half game. And if the Dodgers end up behind the Rockies, then St. Louis will need to probably sweep the Cubs at Wrigley over the final weekend of the season. This is rather interesting, ain’t it?
Cardinal’s starter Austin Gomber retired the first two Brewers in the top of the first (natch), and then Jesus Aguilar took one the opposite way into the St. Louis bullpen for his 34th homer of the season, and Milwaukee led 1-0. Then Ryan Braun drilled a line drive shot out to left (his 17th) and it was suddenly 2-0 Milwaukee.
Gomber settled in for a 1-2-3 second, and held the Crew off the board in the third despite singles by Lorenzo Cain and Aguilar. He also retired the first two in the fourth inning (with Bob Uecker on the TV call for an inning - what a treat), but (surprise!) he never got another out. Jonathan Schoop and Manny Pina singled, clearing the pitcher spot in the order, but Milwaukee starter Gio Gonzalez moved the needle with an RBI single into left center. Seeing Gio get that hit and ribbie was enough for Card’s manager Mike Shildt to remove Gomber. Tyson Ross was the choice, and he walked Lo Cain to load ‘em up for Christian Yelich.
That was not a good move (it isn’t ever a good move, as we will see later). Yeli tripled into the right-center gap, and suddenly it was 6-0 Brewers.
Gio had retired the Redbirds on one hit and a walk over three innings, but he must have been worn out from his adventures at the plate and on the bases in the top of the fourth, because with one down he allowed a single, a walk, and a three run bomb to Yadi Molina, bringing St. Louis within three at 6-3. Gio got the final two, but his night was done when he was pinch hit for in the top of the fifth.
It took some effort to get to the nine spot in the order in the Brewers’ fifth, and they had their one non-two out, nobody on run of the night. A one out single by Hernan Perez was followed by a double by Mike Moustakas (on a misplay at the wall in right by Jose Martinez - he really is a bad outfielder). With runners at second and third Shildt elected to walk Schoop intentionally, setting up the double play with Manny Pina coming up. Manny pulled a single into left that plated the one run and left the sacks full. The Brewers announced Domingo Santana as a pinch hitter, and St. Louis (oops - back to the top as the Bucs have finished off the Cubs) went with Dominic Leone for Ross. To my chagrin, Craig Counsell went with Eric Thames, and he fanned on a 3-2 pitch out of the zone. Cain was the third out on a soft liner to first.
Up 7-3, Milwaukee brought in Xavier Cedeno to face a pinch hitter and Matt Carpenter. Didn’t work this time. Patrick Wisdom singled to left, and Carp walked on four pitches. Exit X, and as it was only the fifth, and the bullpen had pitched, like, ALL of the innings last night, Taylor Williams was the choice. And for a 7-3 game, things got very stressful. A Martinez single loaded the bases, and Paul DeJong brought in a run with a sac fly. With runners on first and second Marcell Ozuna chopped one that went over Williams’ head, and Perez had no play...bases loaded again.
Jedd Gyorko pulled an inside fastball down the thirdbase line just fair, and Moustakas gloved and took third for the force - and almost lost the ball while transferring it for the throw to first. He maintained control and nipped Gyorko for the DP to end the inning. Williams’ Houdini act earned him his first win of the season. 7-4 Crew.
Brandon Woodruff had an easy sixth, but was pinch hit for in the top of the seventh. With several relief pitchers not available, the Brewers went back to Corey Knebel in the bottom of the seventh, and it was apparent that Corey was gassed pitching for the third time in four games.
Greg Garcia had a pinch single leading off the inning, and then Matt Carpenter was called out on a high outside curveball for out number one. Carp wasn’t enamored with the call (I kinda liked it, but I’m a tad partial) and was tossed, as was Shildt. But Martinez pulled a double past Moustakas to put runners at second and third with one down. Knebel over-powered DeJong with high fastballs, bringing up Ozuna. The Brewers wanted nothing to do with the hot-hitting righty, and he walked on five pitches (another high curve strike on 3-0 that was a mistake; the rest weren’t close). So Jedd Gyorko had a chance at redemption, but flew to right to end the inning scoreless. How could a three run lead feel so tenuous?
Milwaukee used their ambush, two out attack in both the eighth and ninth. Aguilar had a two out single to right, and Braun followed with his second homer of the game and third of the series to put Milwaukee ahead 9-4. That’s better.
Then, in the top of the ninth, Orlando Arcia doubled with two down. Inexplicably, the Cards intentionally walked Lo Cain to get to Yelich. I have no words...and it took one pitch for Yeli to drive Brett Cecil’s hanger out to center for a three run shot, and a 12-4 lead.
Joakim Soria had a 1-2-3 eighth, and Jacob Barnes had no trouble in the ninth.
So Milwaukee has won another series, and tomorrow’s finale has John Gant (7-6, 3.53) on the mound for the Cards. Milwaukee counters with Jhoulys Chacin (14-8, 3.61) as Milwaukee continues their quest for a sweep and the NL Central title.
- Yelich’s six ribbies move him to 104 on the season.
- Aguilar had a three hit night...yay
- Jeremy Jeffress was warming for the ninth but didn’t come in. I’m not sure whether it was because the Crew moved to a 12-4 lead or he couldn’t get loose.
- The Cards used eight pitchers tonight; the Brewers only used seven.
- Orlando Arcia can play some shortstop: