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Brewers overpower Cardinals, 9-5

Brewers bats come alive in victory.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers’ offense came up big in St. Louis Cardinals in today’s contest at Busch Stadium, producing 9 runs on 13 hits. In addition to soundly beating the Cardinals today, the Crew’s offense suggested they might ready to recover from their painfully slow start to the season.

In the first inning, the Brewers drove in a run and left the bases stranded on a series of hard-hit balls. In the two spot, Christian Yelich beat the shift, reaching on a hard-hit breaking ball that got too much of the plate. Yelich beat a Yadier Molina throw to steal second before Travis Shaw smoked a liner to short that glanced off of Paul DeJong’s glove to score Yelich from second and give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead.

Next, Omar Narváez reached on a sharp single to right, and Hiura smacked a come-backer to Martinez to load the bases with two outs. This little offensive rally featured some hard contact from the Crew. The heart of the lineup put up the following exit velocities in the inning -

  • Yelich - 105 mph
  • Shaw - 107 mph
  • Narváez - 105 mph
  • Hiura - 102 mph

Jace Peterson, Kolten Wong’s replacement while Wong is on the 10-day IL, to the plate. Peterson worked a bases-loaded nine-pitch sequence that included five foul balls. To his credit, Peterson also got a quality hit on the ninth pitch of the battle but hit it right to Paul Goldschmidt, who ran down the bag to end the inning.

Adrian Houser was effective and efficient in keeping the Cardinals scoreless into the sixth. He induced plenty of groundouts, including two double plays that could have easily been three double plays. He never put up a clean inning but pitched around plenty of basepath traffic. Across five innings, Houser allowed six hits, walked four, and struck out three.

In the first, he was able to pitch around a hard-hit Nolan Arenado double for a scoreless inning. He allowed a little more traffic on the basepaths in the second, opening the inning with a single to Yadier Molina and Dylan Carlson. The Carlson hit set up Tyler O’Neil to ground into a 4-6-3 double play that advanced Molina to third. Houser walked Justin Williams to put runners at the corners before inducing yet another groundout to end another scoreless inning.

The hard hit balls of the first inning signaled hope that the Brewers were turning up the volume on their as-yet quiet offense.

Adrian Houser and Omar Narváez singled across the two innings but never got into scoring position. The fourth inning featured some hard-hit balls hit right at the Cardinal defense, including pitcher and comebacker magnet Carlos Martínez.

The Cardinal third ended with an exciting 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Nolan Arenado. Travis Shaw made an Arenado-style play on the well-hit liner to third, threw to Peterson to get Goldschmidt at second, and Peterson relayed to Wong, who got Arenado just in time at first.

Another double play was well within reach to end the Cardinal fourth inning. Keston Hiura fielded a grounder and got the out at first, but then missed his target on second, allowing Molina to advance to second after reaching on a very long single to left. Travis Shaw instead ended the inning on another excellent play at third, ranging and diving to field the sharp grounder from Austin Dean.

In the fifth, Christian Yelich singled to third, soon to be driven in by Avisaíl García. García slammed a no-doubter that left the bat at 110 mph and landed into the left-center bleachers’ upper rows, bringing the Brewers to a 3-0 lead.

Houser found himself in a fifth-inning jam with two outs, runners at the corners, St. Louis rain falling, and Nolan Arenado at the plate. After a ball to start the sequence, Arenado was a little late on a hanger and fouled it away. It was a gift to Houser since Arenado already had two hard-hit balls against him. The next pitch was low and in the dirt and got away from Omar Narváez, allowing x to advance to second. Houser tried to get Arenado to chase, but Nolan wouldn’t bite. He worked a walk to load the bases, and Houser had the more favorable matchup against Paul DeJong. DeJong swung at a ball down and in to begin the sequence. He fouled the next pitch, a sinker inside, into the glove of Omar Narváez. The next pitch was a sinker that swept to the outside corner, and DeJong swung through it to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Houser came into the bottom of the sixth only to walk Yadier Molina and be replaced by Brent Suter. Suter struck out Dylan Carlson before allowing Austin Dean a single. Justin Williams grounded an 0-2 pitch up the first baseline. It was a sharply hit but routine grounder that rolled under Keston Hiura’s glove and into right field. Molina scored. Dean scored. Suddenly, the Cardinals had the tying run on second. John Nogowski grounded out for the second out but advanced Williams to third. Tommy Edman hit a sharp ground ball that glanced off of Justin Williams, who had taken his lead down the baseline at third. Williams was called out, hit by the batted ball.

The Brewers offense opened up in the seventh. Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the inning with a single to center, and Yelich worked a walk. The walk brought Avisaíl García to the plate with runners on first and second. Garcia, who had already hit a 2-run home run in the fifth, smoked a line-drive double to left.

The hit scored both JBJ and Yelich and left García on second with only one out. Hot-hitting Omar Narváez walked after a Travis Shaw strikeout to bring Keston Hiura to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second. Pitcher Andrew Miller threw Hiura nothing but mid-70s sliders. Hiura watched the first pitch for a strike and the second for a ball. The third pitch was finally, delightfully, a three-run homer for Hiura, who smashed it over the Busch Stadium centerfield fence. It brought the Brewers up 8-2 before Brent Suter struck out to end the inning.

Although Hiura’s most notable play ahead of the home run was the sixth-inning error that allowed two runs to score, he had been hinting at a slump-buster, making hard contact for most of the day. Hopefully, for Hiura, it’s the beginning of a hot streak that can redeem his slow-starting offensive season and costly defensive blunders.

JP Feyereisen continued to impress with a 1-2-3 inning against the heart of the Cardinal’s order. He struck out Paul Goldschmidt on a healthy mix of four-seamers and breaking pitches. He confounded Nolan Arenado with a changeup before prompting the All-Star to ground out. Paul DeJong struck out on the same changeup to end the inning.

Daniel Robertson hit a supremely odd ground-rule double in the eighth, a fly ball that glanced off and over the left-field fence. All but a few people wearing black seemed to consider the hit a home run, but the call stood after review. Yelich worked a walk to load the bases for Avisaíl García. García had already driven in four runs by this point, so Jake Woodford was only willing to try to get him to chase out of the zone. García walked to drive in another run and bring Shaw to the plate with one out. A double play ended the inning, the second inning to end with the bases loaded and one run to cross the plate.

Despite that, the Brewers had reasonable insurance to close out the game. Josh Lindblom came into the bottom of the eighth with a six-run lead, gave up a single to Yadier Molina, walked Dylan Carlson, then gave up a three-run home run to Austin Dean. The first out Lindblom could induce came off a fantastic play by Jackie Bradley Jr. on a Justin Williams flyball.

Without JBJ’s acrobatics, the hit could easily have been a home run, ground-rule double, or triple. Lindblom then hit Edmundo Sosa with a pitch before prompting a routine pop out off Tommy Edman’s bat. It was the only routine play in the inning. The next ball in play, a sharp grounder from Paul Goldschmidt, required more hot corner vacuum heroics from Travis Shaw, who had an impressive defensive outing and fielded the out to get out of the inning with the lead intact.

Despite unraveling in the eighth, Lindblom came back in to finish the game. He began with a popout to Nolan Arenado, then allowed a single to backup catcher and pinch hitter Andrew Knizner. The hit brought Yadier Molina to the plate with one out. At this point, the Brewers had no answer for Molina, who had produced three hits, two runs, and reached on a walk. For his earlier struggles, Lindblom won a nine-pitch battle with Molina, striking out the formidable catcher on a high cutter. The next batter, Dylan Carlson, flew out to Yelich in left to end the game.

Notable among the big Brewer bats were Avisaíl García, who drove in five runs on two hits, including a home run; Keston Hiura, who hit the ball hard all day and hit a long-awaited home run; and Travis Shaw, who started the scoring with a 2-out RBI in the first inning. Billy McKinney hit a beautiful triple to right with one out but ended the inning still stranded on third. Pitcher Adrian Houser got a hit and nearly got two hits. Christian Yelich and Omar Narváez continued to reach base consistently.

The Brewers face the Cardinals again tomorrow, 1:15 CT, at Busch Stadium.