Short-handed Brewers clip Cards in 12 innings
By Bucky Dent The Sports Xchange ST. LOUIS -- The Milwaukee Brewers' All-Star right fielder and everyday shortstop were out with injuries. The cleanup hitter left in the seventh inning Monday, and the team ran out of healthy position players befo...
By Bucky Dent
The Sports Xchange
ST. LOUIS - The Milwaukee Brewers’ All-Star right fielder and everyday shortstop were out with injuries. The cleanup hitter left in the seventh inning Monday, and the team ran out of healthy position players before the game wheezed into extra innings.
Still, the Brewers found a way to win and keep their major-league-best start going.
Left fielder Khris Davis made up for a four-strikeout performance with a tiebreaking triple in the top of the 12th inning, and Milwaukee outlasted the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 at Busch Stadium.
Davis’ hit came off a 1-2 pitch from reliever Seth Maness and scored Jonathan Lucroy, who doubled to lead off the inning. Third baseman Mark Reynolds plated Davis with a sacrifice fly.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez picked up his big-league-best 12th save, inducing a game-ending flyout from shortstop Jhonny Peralta with the potential tying runs on base. The result improved Milwaukee to 19-7 overall, 10-1 away from Miller Park.
“It’s been an unbelievable first month,” Rodriguez said. “I like our chances because we’re hungry. We had a couple of guys hurt and we were out of position players, but we kept grinding.”
With left fielder Ryan Braun (oblique) and shortstop Jean Segura (facial injuries) out of the starting lineup for the second straight game, theBrewers were playing two men short. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was forced out in the seventh after suffering a left elbow contusion when hit by a Pat Neshek pitch with the bases loaded, scoring pinch hitter Lyle Overbay to cap a three-run rally and even the score at 3.
Ron Roenicke found out Ramirez couldn’t go after the manager already told plate umpire Toby Basner that reliever Tyler Thornburg would hit ninth. That prevented him from double-switching and forced him to stick catcher Martin Maldonado at first base.
“It’s an easy (double-switch) if I know (Ramirez) can’t go,” Roenicke said. “I figured he was OK. Once I told (Basner) it was straight up, that’s it.”
The switch almost cost Milwaukee the game. Maldonado missed the bag while catching a throw from second baseman Scooter Gennett on a grounder by Matt Carpenter that should have ended the ninth.
Instead, Carpenter was safe, and the Cardinals (14-13) got another chance. However, reliever Brandon Kintzler induced a first-pitch grounder from center fielder Jon Jay to force extra innings.
Zach Duke (2-0) worked two innings for the win as the Brewers bullpen allowed only four hits in six shutout frames. Maness (0-2), who was St. Louis’ sixth pitcher, absorbed the loss.
“Seems like everything they hit is finding a hole,” Maness said.
Two pitches before his triple, Davis lofted a fly ball down the left field line. Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday could have caught it in foul territory, but he let the ball drop, figuring he couldn’t throw out Lucroy at the plate.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny agreed with Holliday’s decision.
Holliday went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, singling home a run in the first and leading off the sixth with his second homer to center, making it 2-0. Right fielder Allen Craig blasted a solo shot two batters later to give Cardinals starter Michael Wacha a three-run lead.
Wacha suddenly lost it in the seventh. After giving up a one-out walk to shortstop Jeff Bianchi, he allowed four consecutive singles, with Overbay and Gennett knocking in runs and knocking Wacha out.
Wacha pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs while walking two and fanning nine.
Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo, who entered the game 1-11 with a 6.46 ERA in 17 career starts against St. Louis, worked six innings. He allowed seven hits and three runs, walking one and striking out two.
“It’s a great feeling to win this one,” Rodriguez said. “(Wacha) was keeping the ball down and attacking the zone. In the seventh, we got to him.”
NOTES: Milwaukee SS Jean Segura sat out his second straight game after being struck in the face by the bat of RF Ryan Braun on a practice swing before the bottom of the first inning of Saturday night’s game. Braun (oblique) also missed his second game in a row. ... St. Louis recalled 2B Greg Garcia and OF Randal Grichuk from Triple-A Memphis, sending down Opening Day 2B Kolten Wong and OF Shane Robinson. Garcia walked in the seventh as a pinch hitter, while Grichuk went 0-for-2 after coming in as part of a double switch in the ninth. ... Long-time Fox baseball analyst Tim McCarver, who retired from national TV announcing after last year’s World Series, called his first Cardinals game Monday night. He is scheduled to work 30 local telecasts for the club.