Although they won 5-3 last night, the St. Louis Cardinals paid a price while doing so: they lost their ace Adam Wainwright for a to-be-determined amount of time with a left ankle/Achilles injury. The injury occurred during an at-bat in the fifth inning. He will have an MRI on Monday when the Cardinals return to St. Louis.
As for Sunday’s afternoon match-up, another member of the Cardinals’ rotation who has been on a hot start, veteran Lance Lynn, got the start, and Mike Fiers got the start for the Brewers, as they looked to avoid a sweep at the hands of their National League Central opponent, who they only had beaten once the entire season heading into Sunday’s game.
But despite getting 13 hits, the Cardinals would strand 14 base-runners, and fall to the Brewers 6-3.
The first inning for both pitchers led to the same results: no runs allowed. In the case of Lynn, he would wind up striking out the side.
In the top of the second, Fiers started off by facing Kolten Wong, who would ground out to the second baseman Elián Herrera. Fiers would then get out Peter Bourjos. Catcher Tony Cruz, filling in once again for Yadier Molina, got a base hit, as would Lynn (who hit a double). This sent up Matt Carpenter, one of the best hitters in baseball early on in the 2015 season, and with two outs, would walk, bringing up right fielder Jason Heyward.
Unfortunately, Heyward would ground-out, ending the inning and stranding the bases loaded.
Herrera, who has been a very good hitter against the Cardinals in his career, kicked off the bottom of the second with a base hit. Hector Gomez followed with a line-out to Heyward in right field. Catcher Juan Centeno would ground to Carpenter, who got the force out to Wong at second. Fiers would then ground-out as well to end the second inning with the score still tied at zero.
Peralta led off the third inning for St. Louis, and would get walked by Fiers, bringing up Matt Adams, who would get a single, as Peralta remained at second. Mark Reynolds was next up to the plate, eventually striking out, giving Fiers his second of the day. But Wong singled into right field, loading the bases for Bourjos, who ultimately struck out as well.
With the bases loaded for the second time in the game, Cruz would step up to bat. And much like the previous two batters, he would strike out, as through three innings, the Cardinals would strand eight batters.
Lead-off batter Jean Segura started the fourth for Milwaukee, as Lynn would get him to ground-out after just two pitches. Gerardo Parra would then triple home Logan Schaffer to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Adam Lind would follow that with a two-run home run to make it 3-0 Brewers. The command on pitches thrown in the third inning were clearly not where Lynn wanted them to be.
However, a bigger concern happen during the Parra triple, as Heyward stumbled while trying to get the ball, and the subsequent throw, but he would walk under his own power to the dugout, as Jon Jay would take his place in right field.
This would mark the third injury in three days for the Cardinals (Molina on Friday, Wainwright on Saturday, and Heyward on Sunday).
Lynn would be able to get out of the third inning, with Milwaukee leading 3-0. With two outs in the top of the fourth, Jay garnered a hit to first, later stealing to second after an off-throw to first by Fiers. Peralta than singled home Jay, cutting the Brewers lead to 3-1.
As for Lynn, his fourth inning was much better than the previous inning, keeping it a two run game, with a 1-2-3 fourth inning, as the Cardinals headed to the top of the fifth inning.
Reynolds started off the inning, and in one single pitch, launched the ball to the upper deck of Miller Park, cutting the Brewers lead to just 3-2. The home run would lead to the end of Fiers’ day, at 89 pitches, and two runs allowed. Bourjos then walked with Michael Blazek on the mound in relief for Fiers. While Cruz, who was at-bat next, grounded-out, the speed of Bourjos would send him to third base with two outs, and Lynn up next. He would strike out, but the Cardinals would head to the bottom of the fifth down only one after Reynolds’ massive home run.
Milwaukee would bounce back to an extent in the fifth, as Davis would hit a ground-rule double scoring Parra. Herrera then hit a double scoring Davis, as Milwaukee took a 5-2 lead. Gomez would drive in Herrera to keep on rolling, taking a 6-2 lead.
To start the bottom of the sixth, Carlos Villanueva would pitch in relief for Lynn, who had arguably his least productive start of the season, and gets himself a 1-2-3 inning as the Cardinals headed to the top of the seventh with Jeremy Jeffress in the game on the mound for Milwaukee.
During the bottom of the seventh, Reynolds made an amazing catch in left field off the bat of Parra, but would collide front-body first with the left field wall. He would, however, remain in the game.
In the top of the eighth inning, catcher Cody Stanley, recalled from the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds after Wainwright’s injury, would make his MLB debut, stepping up to bat, and he hit a single over the second baseman’s head. After an out by Carpenter, Jay would hit a single, going 3-3 on the afternoon.
With one out and Adams at the plate, he would ground into a force out that would score Stanley, cutting Milwaukee’s lead in half, to 6-3, although that was all they’d get in the inning.
Mitch Harris, who made his debut the night before, would pitch a perfect eighth inning, shutting the Brewers down 1-2-3.
The ninth inning featured Brewers’ closer Francisco Rodriguez, in a save attempt. With help from good fielding defense, Rodriguez would pitch a 1-2-3 inning to get the save, and the Brewers the win.
St. Louis, though still in first in the National League Central Division, falls to 12-5, and Lynn would fall to 1-2 on the year. The Brewers improve to 4-15 on the year, although they are still well in last place.
The Cardinals begin a 11-game home-stand starting tomorrow against the Phillies. John Lackey will get the start.
(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)