Brewers beat Wainwright, Cardinals
The Sports Xchange
By Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange
Brewers beat Wainwright, Cardinals
ST. LOUIS -- Want to know why the Milwaukee Brewers continue to lead the National League Central?
How about an offense that bounced back from a mini-slump by beating David Price and Adam Wainwright in their last two games?
After snapping a three-game losing streak Wednesday by scoring four runs off Price in his last game for Tampa Bay, Milwaukee battered Wainwright on Friday night, upping its division lead to three games with a 7-4 decision over the St. Louis Cardinals at sold-out Busch Stadium.
"It says a lot about our offense and how good we are when we're clicking," said catcher Jonathan Lucroy. "We're too good to be held down for too long."
Wainwright (13-6) entered the game with a 2.19 career ERA in 27 previous games against them, but the Brewers (61-49) collected nine hits and seven runs in 5 1/3 innings off him.
Lucroy administered the knockout punch, lining a three-run double down the right-field line on a 3-2 pitch in the top of the sixth inning for a 6-0 lead.
Prior to Wednesday, Milwaukee managed only two runs in its previous 27 innings.
"Things can turn in a hurry sometimes," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Great job offensively tonight. We got all kinds of people on the bases and got a couple of big hits. Let's get everyone doing that and see if the offense can get going for a while."
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny left shortly after hooking his ace pitcher for reliever Seth Maness. Matheny was booted by second base umpire Will Little, apparently for arguing Little's safe call on shortstop Jean Segura at second after a bloop single to center by second baseman Elian Herrera. The call was upheld by a replay review.
It was Matheny's second ejection of the year and eighth in his three seasons. The Cardinals won just three of 18 replay challenges, easily the worst record in the majors.
"Sooner or later, the system has to allow us to say something," a frustrated Matheny said. "We've gotten to the point to where we can't even say anything or we get tossed. They've taken a lot of emotion out of the game.
"It doesn't come down to an individual call so much as it does process. We haven't benefited from it at all."
Matheny also criticized the strike zone of plate umpire Greg Gibson, calling it tight. The teams combined for a dozen walks.
Brewers starter Wily Peralta walked four of his first eight batters, but worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first by getting a popup from catcher A.J. Pierzynski. As has been his pattern this year, Peralta (13-6) got into a rhythm after early shakiness.
In beating St. Louis for the third time this year, Peralta allowed five hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, striking out three. He's allowed just three earned runs in 20 innings against the Cardinals.
"He got comfortable and started working down in the zone with velocity," Lucroy said of Peralta.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez cracked a solo homer in the second off the top of the left-center wall, then doubled off it in the fourth to supply Milwaukee's first two runs. He added an infield single in the fifth, making him 22-of-53 in his career against Wainwright.
Right fielder Ryan Braun contributed RBI doubles in the fifth and sixth, while Segura and Herrera bagged two hits apiece.
St. Louis (57-51) received a solo homer from left fielder Matt Holliday in the sixth, his 11th of the year. Third baseman Matt Carpenter supplied an RBI single in the seventh and a two-run triple in the ninth.
That forced Roenicke to insert closer Francisco Rodriguez and he quickly got the last out for his 32nd save, tying Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel and the Cardinals' Trevor Rosenthal for the league lead.
NOTES: St. Louis recalled OF Shane Robinson from Triple-A Memphis and optioned RHP Carlos Martinez to Memphis. It will be Robinson's fourth stint with the Cardinals this year; he's hitting .140 with two RBIs in 31 games with them. ... Milwaukee 2B Scooter Gennett (finger) was scratched from the lineup after being injured while bunting in batting practice. X-rays were negative, but Gennett's status going forward isn't known. ... St. Louis manager Mike Matheny announced that newly-acquired RHPs Justin Masterson and John Lackey will start Saturday night and Sunday, respectively.