Brewers snap 7-game skid, rout Cardinals
By Andrew Wagner
The Sports Xchange
MILWAUKEE -- The nightmare is over for the Milwaukee Brewers.
In danger of falling out of first place for the first time since April 9, Milwaukee snapped a season-high seven-game losing streak and avoided a second consecutive series sweep with a 11-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.
The Brewers had struggled in every aspect of the game over the last two weeks but snapped out of an offensive funk and got a stellar start from right-hander Wily Peralta, who went seven innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits while striking out five.
"We needed to win today," said Peralta (10-6). "Somebody had to step up the way we were playing. It was my turn today to do it and I did it."
Shortstop Elian Herrera and second baseman Scooter Gennett paced the Brewers' offense. Herrera got the start with Jean Segura on bereavement leave in the Dominican Republic, where his 9-month-old son passed away Friday night, and Jeff Bianchi nursing a sore elbow and set a career-high with five hits while Gennett tied his career high going 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored.
In all, the Brewers combined for 19 hits on the day with seven of them coming against Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez who also walked four and was charged with four runs over four innings while striking out five.
"He was having a tough time finding anything," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It was one of those days that you are going to see from a young pitcher every once in a while. He's trying to harness his emotions a little bit, which will harness his control. It all goes hand in hand. It was a rough day for him. It's one of those learning points."
Right-hander Seth Maness did not fare much better, allowing another four runs on five hits, including a home run to left fielder Khris Davis, over 1 1/3 innings.
"When you start adding on, you feel really good about it," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We had the four then (Davis) hit the homer to give us five but we continued on from there. A lot of good at-bats. (Catcher Jonathan Lucroy) has been frustrated so it's nice to see him get a hit there at the end. A good game and I think we needed it going into the break."
The Cardinals finally got on the board in the fourth.
Second baseman Kolten Wong struck out to open the inning but reached on a passed ball by catcher Jonathan Lucroy and then stole second base.
Wong advanced and scored on a pair of ground-outs to make it 2-1, but the Brewers answered with two more in the bottom of the inning and then took a 5-1 lead in the fifth on Davis' 14th home run of the season.
"We played two great games," Matheny said. "Those are games that do take some life out of you, too. It takes a lot energy, especially that first game. It's perfect time for the break. These guys have competed, they've worked and we asked them to grind. There are going to be days like this. You've got to let them go and I anticipate that we will see a well-rested ready group when we get back."
Up by 6 1/2 games on July 1, the Brewers had lost 11 of their last 12 games, including a 10-2 trouncing Saturday that forced them into a first-place tie with St. Louis.
Milwaukee now goes into the All-Star Game break up a game on the Cardinals in the NL Central.
"We're back in first place," said third baseman Aramis Ramirez, one of four Brewers headed to Minneapolis for the All-Star Game. "We know it is only one game, but it is better than being one game behind. We're a first-place club in the first half. Hopefully we come back ready to play."
The two teams will meet 10 times in the second half. They will play six times in St. Louis with a four-game series at Miller Park Sept. 4-7.
CREW CUTS: Milwaukee began the day tied with St. Louis atop the National League Central, the first time in 99 days it did not have sole possession of first place in the division. ... Three of the Cardinals' last six victories have been decided by home runs, including two walk-off homers. ... Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he has no plans to rearrange his rotation after the All-Star break and will start RHP Kyle Lohse Friday at the Washington Nationals. ... St. Louis' 65-44 record at Miller Park entering Sunday is the best of any opposing team since the stadium opened in 2001.