Now this game — this was Cardinals Devil Magic.
The Brewers took a 5-1 lead into the 7th inning in this afternoon’s series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, a situation that has worked out for them many, many times this season, and they lost.
They didn’t just lose, though. That would be too easy. They lost in the most annoyingly infuriating way possible.
After getting a first inning grand slam from Tyrone Taylor (and another solo shot from him later) and chasing Adam Wainwright early, Jake Cousins and Brad Boxberger quite literally threw away a great outing from Adrian Houser.
Cousins came on in relief of Houser in the 7th inning, and after being made to change gloves by the umpires, promptly loaded the bases with one out. Boxberger nearly got out of the jam unscathed when he forced Tommy Edman to hit a grounder to second, but the ball wasn’t hit hard enough for Kolten Wong and Willy Adames to turn the double play, allowing a run to score.
Boxberger still held a 5-2 lead with two outs in the 7th inning after that, though, and had two strikes on Yadier Molina when he made the puzzling decision to try a pickoff throw on Edman to first. Instead of throwing it to Eduardo Escobar, though, Boxberger threw it to no one in particular, allowing Harrison Bader to score from third, cutting the deficit to 5-3.
From there, Paul Goldschmidt did it again.
LET'S GOOOOO!— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 23, 2021
Thank you, Goldy! pic.twitter.com/MFbMSCvmCG
The 2-run blast by the infamous Brewer Killer was a crushing blow. The Brewers only managed a single each in the 7th and 8th inning the rest of the way, and St. Louis kept their foot on the gas.
Aaron Ashby showed he wouldn’t have been a much better call than Boxberger or Cousins in the 7th, quickly walking Nolan Arenado and allowing a single to Dylan Carlson, sending Arenado to third. Taylor’s questionable decision to try to throw out Arenado led to Carlson taking second base on the play.
Then, in a classic Devil Magic play, the Cardinals scored the go-ahead run without the benefit of a hit, as Ashby uncorked a wild pitch to Yadier Molina, allowing Arenado to score. Yadi would follow with a sacrifice fly to bring in Carlson, increasing the Cardinals’ lead to 7-5.
6 unanswered runs for the LEAD! pic.twitter.com/e0UpMqVgo2— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 23, 2021
Goldschmidt added further insult to injury with a solo home run off Ashby in the 9th inning to give the Cardinals an 8-5 lead.
The Brewers went down in order in the 9th inning, keeping their magic number for the NL Central crown at 3 for the fourth straight day.
It would have been nice to see Devin Williams at any point in the late-inning debacle, but he was evidently unavailable, as the YouTube broadcast spotted him in the Brewers dugout during those innings and not in the bullpen.
The Brewers will hope a weekend series against the freefalling Mets will allow them to cut down that magic number before having to face the Cardinals again next week in St. Louis.
The Cardinals head off to play a series against the Cubs, although the Brewers could still clinch as soon as tomorrow, as they will begin that series with a double header.
The math is still on their side.