Another day, another hole dug by the starting pitcher that the Milwaukee Brewers just couldn’t climb out of. Adrian Houser toed the slab making his first career MLB start and was shaky to say the least. He allowed a hit and a walk in the first, but managed to get through scoreless. Three more hits in the second plated the game’s first run, making it 1-0. Another hit in a scoreless third inning. Then, the first big blow came in the fourth on a two-run homer by Dexter Fowler, making it 3-0 Cardinals.
But the Cream City Nine began to battle back in the fifth. Ryan Braun lined an opposite field home run with one out off St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty to put Milwaukee’s first run on the board. Eric Thames followed with a walk, then Hernan Perez blasted his third dinger of the year to tie things up at 3. But the game wouldn’t stay that way for long.
There was a pinch-hitter getting ready to replace Houser in the fifth inning, but after the game was tied up, Craig Counsell elected to allow his starter to bat for himself (and strikeout) and then continue pitching in the bottom of the frame. The move was probably a mistake. Matt Carpenter led off with a single, and then Paul Goldschmidt sent a two-run blast into the night sky to make it 5-3 Cardinals. That prompted CC to come out and yank Houser, who finished with 4.0 innings pitched, nine hits, five runs, a walk, and three strikeouts.
On came Alex Wilson, who was able to retire the side without any further damage. The Brewers pulled back within a run in the sixth inning on a Yasmani Grandal solo homer, and then Jeremy Jeffress pitched a scoreless bottom half as he continues to work his way back into higher leverage situations. All hell broke loose in the seventh, though.
Jacob Barnes had been throwing the ball rather well of late and was tabbed to face the top of the Cardinals’ order. Carpenter started things with a double. Goldschmidt walked. Paul DeJong singled to load the bases. Marcell Ozuna walked to force in a run. Jose Martinez hit a sac fly. Yadier Molina slapped a two-run single. Enter Aaron Wilkerson. He was greeted by a Fowler RBI single. Kolten Wong walked. Some cat named Lane Thomas hit a two-run single. Back to the top of the lineup. Carpenter whiffed for the second out, then Goldy hit an RBI single. DeJong mercifully flied out to end the frame. When the dust finally settled after the Cardinals sent 12 men to the plate, seven runs had come across to break the game open.
Wilkerson gave up one more run in the eighth inning, which the Brewers got back in the ninth on a solo home run by Travis Shaw. Hopefully the garbage time dinger helps get Shaw’s bat on track. The game ended at 13-5, with five runs charged to Barnes in a third of an inning and three to Wilkerson over 1.2 innings. Milwaukee falls to 13-11 while St. Louis improves their record to 13-9.
A short start from Houser and 47 pitches thrown by Wilkerson could mean a roster move for bullpen help before Tuesday’s game, which is scheduled to begin at 6:45 PM central. Zach Davies, Milwaukee’s one reliable starting pitcher, will be first out of the chute. He squares off against Daniel Ponce de Leon, who making his first appearance of the season in place of the injured Michael Wacha.