Four runs against Adam Wainwright proved to be just enough for the Brewers pitching staff as the Crew defeated the Cardinals 4-3 in Thursday night’s series opener.
The Brewers wasted no time getting on the board in the first inning. Luis Urias took Wainwright deep on the second at-bat of the game to open the scoring.
Back-to-back two-out singles by Andrew McCutchen and Rowdy Tellez brought Tyrone Taylor to the plate with runners on the corners. He punched a ground ball up the middle to score McCutchen and make it a 2-0 game.
The early lead would not last long. Eric Lauer battled his command over the first couple of innings, issuing two walks in the first and allowing two runs on an Albert Pujols shot down the third-base line and a sacrifice fly by Juan Yepez.
Jace Peterson doubled with one out in the top of the second and advanced to third on a two-out throwing error by shortstop Edmundo Sosa that allowed Luis Urias to reach. Christian Yelich capitalized on the misplay with a base hit to right field that plated Peterson and made it a 3-2 game.
An RBI single by McCutchen in the fourth would drive in Milwaukee’s fourth and final run.
Meanwhile, Lauer settled in after throwing nearly 50 pitches over the first two innings. Starting with his final out in the second, the southpaw retired nine consecutive hitters. In five innings of work, Lauer limited the damage to two runs on four hits and four walks. He managed just one strikeout but held the Cardinals offense at bay without his best stuff.
With a day off for Devin Williams pushing Trevor Gott and Brad Boxberger back an inning, Trevor Kelley got the sixth inning. He worked around a leadoff walk to throw a scoreless inning and pick up his first hold.
Gott allowed a solo home run to Brewer-killer Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh, but that was the extent of the damage against him. Boxberger followed with a scoreless eighth.
In his first outing since returning from family medical leave, Josh Hader closed the door with a scoreless, albeit stressful, ninth inning. Tommy Edmond led off with a jam-shot single just over the head of Luis Urias, and Nolan Arenado drew a one-out walk to put the winning run on base with Albert Pujols up.
After a long battle, Hader got Pujols to pop out in foul territory for the second out. Juan Yepez popped out to Jace Peterson to end the game.
The Brewers and Cardinals will square off for the second game of the series tomorrow night at 7:15 p.m. CDT. Brandon Woodruff will look to build on a pair of solid starts after experiencing some tough luck to begin the season. Ground ball specialist Dakota Hudson will get the ball for the Cardinals.