The Brewers’ collapse from first place continues, and so does the Cardinals’ surge to the top of the NL Central.
Entering a game behind Milwaukee for first place in the tight NL Central division, the Cardinals had already beaten the Brewers on Friday night in a dramatic 7-6 victory.
With the ace Adam Wainwright on the mound for St. Louis, the Cardinals won their fifth game in their last six games overall, beating the Brewers 10-2.
St. Louis pounded the Brewers’ pitching, garnering 12 hits, and scored 10 runs for just the second time this season (last time was in April against the Cubs).
Milwaukee had at one point been 6 1/2 games ahead in the division, but including a sweep by the Phillies, having lost seven straight, that lead has completely disappeared with the Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates in hot pursuit.
The run-scoring action during Saturday’s game started right at the start. All-star third baseman Matt Carpenter led off the game right away with a base hit into center-field. With Matt Holliday getting hit by a pitch, and following a fly-out by Matt Adams, shortstop Jhonny Peralta launched a single to center, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Oscar Taveras followed by reaching first by a fielding error. In stepped catcher Tony Cruz. Cruz, who had a career game, hit a two-run single, and at the end of the 1st, St. Louis was already up 3-0.
Wainwright pitched another strong performance on Saturday, going seven innings, allowing a mere two runs on five hits, striking out four, walking none.
In the second inning, Kolten Wong, who has been on a offensive hot streak since returning from injury, hit a two-run home run into right field, giving St. Louis the 5-0 lead.
In the third inning, Cruz hit a double scoring Peralta, giving him his first career 3-RBI game. The Cardinals beat around young pitcher Jimmy Nelson throughout his entire time on the mound, with the 4th inning being the only inning he pitched in which they did not score.
Tom Gorzelanny relieved Nelson in the top of the fifth, and started off strong by striking out Cruz. But that success was short-lived as Jon Jay singled to center, scoring Adams. The very next pitch, Wainwright got his 100th career hit as he singled into center as well, scoring Taveras.
The Brewers finally got on the board, ending Wainwright’s scoreless streak at 18 innings, after Lyle Overbay hit a double scoring Jeff Bianchi. After St. Louis increased their lead to 9-1 after the top of the 6th after a sacrifice by Peralta, and 10-1 in the top of the 7th after a single by Carpenter, the Brewers responded by a single by Khris Davis, scoring Ryan Braun, who had a dropped catch in right field earlier in the game.
Jason Motte took Wainwright’s spot in the bottom of the eight inning, and proceeded to shut down the Brewers’ bats, who prior to Motte’s entrance into the game, struggled all day against arguably one of the game’s best pitchers, in Wainwright.
Sam Freeman took over for Motte in the ninth, and pitched another 1-2-3 inning, giving the Cardinals the 10-2 win.
Adam Wainwright improved his record to 12-4 with the win, as his ERA is at a mere 1.83.
Wong has hit five home runs in the last seven games, helping the Cardinals’ offense get back into a groove.
St. Louis has had their fair share of struggles this season, both on the mound and more notably at the plate. But in the past week, the team has really started to heat up. Both teams sit atop the NL Central with a 52-43 record, but it’s safe to say St. Louis has the momentum on their side heading into the series finale Sunday.
(Photo credit: AP/Jeffrey Phelps)