Sometimes, the best way to prevent runs is to not play the innings at all. That’s what the Brewers got tonight, as they pulled out a win to salvage one game in this three game series against the Cardinals.
The Brewers wasted no time getting ahead in this one. In the first inning, back-to-back singles by Lorenzo Cain and Yasmani Grandal put two runners on base. After Christian Yelich linedout, Keston Hiura hit the Brewers third single of the inning and put them up 1-0. Right after Hiura, Mike Moustakas was up and made sure starting pitcher Adrian Houser would have plenty of support tonight. He sent a low pitch out to right field and over the fence for a three-run home run, giving the Brewers a 4-0 lead. It’s always a good sign when the pitcher gets to bat before he pitches, and he did as the Brewers batted around in the first.
With confidence on the mound, Houser came out strong. In his first four innings, he allowed a total of one single and two walks, while striking out three. The Brewers gave him a little more run support as well, adding on a run in the fourth thanks to a Hiura double that scored Yelich, making it a 5-0 game.
Unfortunately, the Brewers defense did no favors for Houser again, as defensive issues gave the Cardinals runs for the second straight night. In the fifth, after striking out Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter to begin the inning, Harrison Bader hit a ground ball to Moustakas, but his throw to Eric Thames was low and it got by Thames, allowing Bader to reach second. Pinch-hitter Yairo Munoz singled to move Bader to third, and Dexter Fowler singled to bring in Bader, putting the Cardinals on the board at 5-1. Then, with Kolten Wong at the plate, Grandal tried throwing to second after a pitch to catch Munoz off the base, but his throw sailed very high and into center field, allowing Munoz to score from second and make it a 5-2 game. Both runs were unearned as Houser should have been out of the inning during Bader’s at-bat.
The Brewers tried to add some more runs back on in the sixth, loading the bases without a hit (Cain HBP, Grandal Walk, Moustakas Walk). However, Braun struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning. Once again, hits with runners in scoring position was a problem, as the Brewers went 2-for-11 with ten runners left on base. The Cardinals kept their momentum going in the sixth. Yelich tried to cut it off after a diving catch to rob Paul Goldschmidt of a hit, but Marcell Ozuna and Paul Dejong singled, and Yadier Molina doubled to bring in Ozuna and close the gap to 5-3. That ended Houser’s day, and Alex Claudio came into the game. He faced just one batter, getting Matt Carpenter to strike out. Matt Albers followed Claudio and struck out Bader to limit the damage to one run allowed in the inning.
The Brewers went down 1-2-3 in the seventh, and Drew Pomeranz came in to start the eighth inning. He allowed a walk to Fowler but struck out pinch hitter Lane Thomas and got a pop out from Kolten Wong, then Junior Guerra entered the game, getting a groundout from Goldschmidt to end the inning. The Brewers played their half of the seventh, but it was another 1-2-3 inning for them. At that point, the umpires put the game in a rain delay as storms hit in St. Louis. After about an hour in that rain delay, the game was called, giving the Brewers a shortened 5-3 win.
In addition to his three-run home run, Moustakas led the offense by reaching base in all four at-bats, adding three walks to his three-run home run. Hiura was the lone Brewer to record multiple hits (2-for-4), though Cain, Grandal, and Yelich each reached base multiple times. On the pitching side, Houser went 5.1 innings and allowed three runs, though only one was earned. He also walked two and allowed six hits, but struck out six in the game. In the bullpen, Claudio, Albers, Pomeranz, and Guerra each pitched parts of an inning, allowing just the one walk between the four of them. Guerra ends up getting the save after being the last pitcher in the rain-shortened game.
The Brewers get tomorrow off before coming back to Miller Park for a six-game homestand. First up at home is the Diamondbacks on Friday. Jordan Lyles will face Merrill Kelly to start that series. First pitch on Friday is 7:10 pm.