On a beautiful Thursday afternoon, just mere hours before the St. Louis Blues would take on the Minnesota Wild in Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center, the St. Louis Cardinals faced off against the Milwaukee Brewers, and backed by a strong pitching performance by veteran starter John Lackey, the Cardinals improved to 5-3 on the season with a 4-0 victory, while the Brewers dropped to 2-7, and falling deeper into last in the National League Central.
The 36-year old Lackey pitched a solid seven innings, allowing just five hits, no runs, walked one, and struck out eight Brewers’ as his ERA dropped to 2.77 on the young season.
Overall, the game did not feature much action early on, as both Lackey and Brewers’ starting pitcher Mike Fiers pitched strong innings. But during the bottom of the sixth inning, the 0-0 tie score was finally broken. The inning started with a double to deep right field by Matt Carpenter, who would later score after a one out single by Matt Holliday, who has had at least one hit in every game this season thus far. Jhonny Peralta would then single, sending Holliday to third.
Mark Reynolds, one of the Cardinals’ new acquisitions from the off-season, stepped up to the plate and doubled to center field, scoring Holliday to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead (Peralta was thrown out at home on a close play). Reynolds also had an impressive outing at first day on the afternoon.
Later in the seventh inning, Carpenter doubled deep to center field, which would score Kolten Wong, and give St. Louis the 3-0 lead. Jordan Walden would step in for Lackey in the eighth inning, and continue the work done by the starter, striking out Jonathan Lucroy, getting Ryan Braun to ground-out, and after Adam Lind singled, would get Aramis Ramirez to strike out as well.
After a slow start to the season at the plate, catcher Yadier Molina singled to center field, allowing Randal Grichuk, who had doubled earlier, to score, and give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead, and put the nail in the coffin on the game.
In the ninth, with the game no longer in a save situation, Matt Belisle entered to get the final three outs, and he did exactly that.
John Lackey gets his first win of the season, while Mike Fiers drops to 0-2 on the year. With the win, the Cardinals also carry momentum heading into tomorrow’s match-up against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium.
(A.P Photo: Jeff Roberson)