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Brewers start showdown with 5-3 win in 10 innings

2011-08-09T15:29:00Z 2011-08-09T23:58:18Z Brewers start showdown with 5-3 win in 10 inningsBY DERRICK GOOLD stltoday.com
August 09, 2011 3:29 pm  • 

ST. LOUIS -- Casey McGehee snapped a 3-3 tie with a RBI double in the 10th inning Tuesday at Busch Stadium. The Milwaukee Brewers third base drove home Nyjer Morgan as the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run by solving the Cardinals' bullpen.

The Brewers got three hits and two runs in the top of the 10th inning off Cardinals reliever Octavio Dotel to win the first game of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

The win gave the Brewers a four-game lead in the division.

Milwaukee has not had a lead this big in the division since 2007, when they once led by 8 1/2 games before petering out late in the year and losing the crown to the Chicago Cubs.

McGehee's double pushed Morgan in for the winning run, and it also moved Prince Fielder to third base. Fielder scored on a sacrifice fly by Yuniesky Betancourt to set the final score.

The Cardinals got the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning against Brewers closer John Axford, but could not get the tying run on base.

The Cardinals bullpen had been an essential part of their victory last week in Milwaukee, and overall had been much improved against the Brewers in that series, the first between the rivals since the trade deadline. The Cardinals' relievers combined to limit the Brewers to one run on nine hits in 10 innings of work last week at Miller Park.

The runs allowed by Dotel were the first and only runs allowed by the Cardinals relievers in four innings of work Tuesday.

***

Lynn, firing zeroes, leaves with oblique strain

ST. LOUIS -- A revelation in his role as the Cardinals rookie setup righty, Lance Lynn was doing what's come to be the expected -- rifling through the Milwaukee Brewers and keeping a tie score in place through almost two innings of scoreless work.

Almost because with his final pitch he crumpled to the ground.

Lynn struck out three as he worked the eighth and ninth inning's tonight for the Cardinals, holding on to a 3-3 tie at Busch Stadium. He K'd Felipe Lopez with a 94-mph fastball. Jonathan Lurcoy whiffed on a 95-mph fastball for the second out of the ninth inning. Pinch hitter George Kottaras then worked Lynn through a lengthy plate appearance. On the final pitch, Kottaras walked, and Lynn kneeled.

The Cardinals' strapping righty took one step off the mound and fell to his knees before a trainer reached him. Lynn seemed to be bothered by an injury of some type.

The Cardinals announced in the bottom of the inning that Lynn was removed with a left oblique strain.

Righty Octavio Dotel came into the game in relief of Lynn with a runner at first base and leadoff hitter Corey Hart batting.

Kyle Lohse held off his bullpen in order to be a "Safety Net" for tonight's game in case of extra innings. Lohse threw his bullpen while Lynn entered in the top of the eighth, signaling that if the righty gets into the game it will be as a pinch hitter or a left fielder or something other than an innings guy in extras.

***

Laird strikes back to tie game, 3-3

ST. LOUIS -- An inning after his passed ball allowed the Brewers to get a runner into scoring position and eventually around to score, Gerald Laird delivered a new game for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Just as the Brewers did in the top of the sixth inning, the Cardinals got a key base hit from their No. 8 hitter with the pitcher on deck.

The two-run inning that now has the game tied, 3-3, started with a single from Matt Holliday that left fielder Ryan Braun played into a triple. Holliday scored on an RBI single from David Freese. Freese then advanced to second on a groundout by Skip Schumaker. With Edwin Jackson up in the on-deck circle to apparently hit for himself, the Brewers still pitched to No. 8 hitter Laird.

This was the same dilemma facing the Cardinals in the top of the inning, right down to first base being open here, too.

Laird blooped a fly ball into the Bermuda Triangle between three fielders in center field and that allowed Freese to race home for the tie game.

The Cardinals and Brewers are playing in front of the sixth sellout crowd of the season at Busch Stadium.

***

With pitcher on deck, Brewers get key run

ST. LOUIS -- A glacial game slowed down a tick in the top of the sixth inning as Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson grinded through an unusually laborious at-bat against Brewers starter Jonathan Lucroy.

Laborious not only because it took several minutes, one meeting on the mound, and a series of slowly paced pitches to complete.

But also because why Jackson pitched to Lucroy at all was confusing.

Jackson walked No. 7 hitter Felipe Lopez with two outs in the inning. Lopez took second on a passed ball by catcher Gerald Laird. The Cardinals backup, who caught Jackson when the two were teammates in Detroit, has had a few mishaps behind the plate this evening, including difficulty handling two pitches in the sixth inning. The first one got Lopez to second and opened up first base, seemingly, for Lucroy.

Instead, with pitcher Shaun Marcum, waiting on deck, Jackson elected to pitch to Lucroy, apparently trying to lull him into an out.

Didn't work.

Lucroy looped a two-strike pitch from Jackson up the middle for an RBI single that regain the Brewers' lead, 3-1. With Lance Berkman having just driven in Matt Holliday with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning that freebie run now stands as the difference in the game.

Milwaukee leads, 3-2, with the Cardinals batting in the sixth.

***

Patterson puts Cardinals on the board

ST. LOUIS -- Corey Patterson slipped an RBI single through the Milwaukee Brewers infield to cut the rivals' lead in half. But the Cardinals will remember the fifth inning not for the run they got; rather it will be the run they didn't that sticks with them.

The first two batters of the inning reached base on Marcum, and with on out and the tying run at first base, leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal chopped a grounder toward first base. Prince Fielder scampered in to field the ball on the run -- before it likely bent foul. He fired home to try and get the runner, Skip Schumaker, at home.

Umpire Angel Hernandez ruled Jonathan Lucroy's tag got down in time to catch Schumaker on his slide.

Replays showed a different take on the play.

Initial views, courtesy of Fox Sports Midwest's broadcast, showed Schumaker's lead foot clearly going over home plate before Lucroy applied the tag to Schumaker's right knee. Another replay -- this one from a lower angle -- showed that Schumaker's foot was literally over home plate. His foot had bounced as he came into the area and his leg was lifted over the plate. Whether it came down and scraped the back side of the plate before the tag will be the debate.

Manager Tony La Russa argued that the high throw and the tag couldn't possibly have beaten Schumaker's slide.

What would have been the Cardinals' first run of the ball game against righty Shaun Marcum was instead their second out of the fifth run inning. Patterson two-out single up the middle made sure the Cardinals did not leave the inning empty-handed.

They trail 2-1 going into the sixth inning.

***

Jackson escapes combustible inning in fifth

ST. LOUIS -- The first three batters of the fifth inning reached base against Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson, and only one needed to make solid contact on a pitch to get there.

Shaun Marcum, the opposing starter, laced a base hit to center to open the inning. Jackson walked leadoff hitter Corey Hart, and No. 2 hitter Nyjer Morgan reached base on a throwing error by catcher Gerald Laird.

That brought up the muscle in the middle of the Brewers order with no outs and the bases loaded.

Jackson left the inning unscathed.

Sometimes it better to be lucky than good, and it's a godsend to be both when a inning is on tilt.

Jackson busted Ryan Braun's bat and got a soft liner to third baseman David Freese for the first out. The runners stayed put. Prince Fielder pulped a pitch from Jackson, but his liner went right to second baseman Skip Schumaker and not six inches to the right or left for two RBIs. The runners stayed put.

With two outs and the bases still loaded, Jackson delivered a wild pitch to Casey McGehee.

The runners did not stay put.

Marcum strayed off third and Laird was able to corral the ball -- which did not skip that far away -- and fire to third to catch the pitcher between the bases. Marcum appeared to twist his ankle slightly as he was tagged out by Freese. The righty was slow to his feet.

He has been muzzling the Cardinals throughout the first four innings of work. He had allowed the Cardinals two base hits and three runners total. Marcum was getting the Cardinals fishing after his off-speed pitches out of the zone -- especially his changeup low in the zone, where both Albert Pujols and David Freese went reaching for pitches. Not one Cardinal had reached third base against Marcum through four innings.

That changed in the bottom of the fifth.

More on that as it develops.

***

Hart launches Milwaukee to a 2-0 lead

ST. LOUIS -- It just took Corey Hart a little longer this time to connect with a fastball from Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson.

After announcing the Brewers' intentions with authority last Wednesday by launching a leadoff homer run against Jackson and sparking a 10-5 victory, Hart waited until his second at-bat to drill the Cardinals' righty. Hart, Milwaukee's leadoff hitter just back in the lineup after missing time with a hand injury, nailed a 2-2 pitch to dead center to give Milwaukee an early 2-0 lead.

Jackson had retired the first seven batters he faced of the game, not one of whom was able to get the ball out of the infield. That changed when catcher Jonathan Lucroy tapped a groundball base hit to left field with one out in the third inning. Lucroy got to second on a sacrifice bunt by pitcher Shaun Marcum.

Those extra 90 feet proved academic when Hart landed a fastball from Jackson some 416 feet from home plate to score himself and Lucroy.

Nyjer Morgan followed with a two-out triple into the right-field corner but Jackson wiggled free of allowing another run by getting Ryan Braun to groundout to third base. David Freese's throw from first beat Braun by less than a step for the third out of the inning.

Through 2 1/2 innings the Cardinals trail 2-0.

***

Cardinals, Brewers survive scoreless first inning

ST. LOUIS -- The pitches were challenging, on the edges and not anywhere near his head as Albert Pujols faced Shaun Marcum in the first inning of Tuesday's game between the Cardinals and Brewers.

Pujols fell behind 0-2 to the Brewers' changeup specialist before flipping a fly ball to center fielder Nyjer Morgan for the second out of the inning. Pujols reached for the pitch he put in play -- a fastball on the outside portion of the plate.

Batting second Corey Patterson drew a one-out walk for the Cardinals. One possible reason the low-OBP center fielder is hitting right ahead of Pujols is speed. Another reason is speed. Patterson not only offers the chance to steal a base and score from first on an extra-base hit, he could also be a factor that helps the middle of the order avoid double plays. That could be the reason he gets the nod for the coveted No. 2 spot ahead of Skip Schumaker, who has been one of the leading hitters (by average) on the team since the All-Star break.

After Pujols' fly out, Matt Holliday scalded a base hit to left field. Both Cardinals would be stranded when Marcum coaxed a groundout from Lance Berkman.

Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson has retired all six Brewers he's faced, and not one of the balls has left the reach of his infielders.

Casey McGehee, who hit three homers off Jackson last week in Milwaukee, grounded out to shortstop for the second out of the inning.

***

Roenicke talks about rivalry & pitching inside to Pujols

ST. LOUIS -- Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made the point in his office last Wednesday that his team pitches inside on some of the game's best hitters because -- news flash! -- that's a good way to get them out.

Ryan Braun backed that opinion because he sees it from other teams. Prince Fielder agreed, too. Albert Pujols even said that he gets pitched inside and expects to get pitched inside because that's where teams figure they can get him out.

Roenicke sought not to clarify his explanation made last week in Milwaukee when asked this afternoon at Busch Stadium but stress that he's not on an island, preaching to a small sect of baseball that believes on pitching inside.

That's the rule, not the exception, and perhaps with the success his team has had handcuffing Pujols more teams should do it.

The Post-Dispatch's Hummel Intern, Ben Frederickson, attended Roenicke's pre-game chat with the media and filed this Q & A-style cut from the conversation:

QUESTION: Was too much made of high and tight and how you guys like to approach Albert Pujols and other hitters? Did we overanalyze those comments?

Roenicke: "Absolutely. Albert is no different than any other really good hitter in the league. Every time there is a good hitter, Brauny gets pitched in all the time. Prince gets pitched in all the time. The better the hitter, the more you have to pitch in. And when I'm talking about pitching in I don't mean pitching in to hit somebody. I mean pitch in to get strikes in there when they know those guys have to protect the inside part of the plate.

"We pitch everybody that way. Any good hitter we pitch that way. It isn't just these guys."

QUESTION: Is it over or do you think it will cary over to this series?

Roenicke: "I don't think it will carry over to this series but there is always something here with these guys. It's there. It's there when we play the Cubs, it's there. That's OK."

QUESTION: Is that because of Tony?

Roenicke: "Whether it's Tony, whether it's their guys. It's just, it's the team. It's the team that I think this team has always felt that there's a little extra there. Whether it's the atmosphere. Whether it's the battles they have. Any time you have a rivalry with someone, there's always a little extra there."

***

Lohse could be available tonight out of bullpen

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse delayed the bullpen side session he would have normally thrown today as prep for his rescheduled start Friday. Instead, he'll likely throw it later, during the game, unless he's needed to, you know, pitch in the game.

Lohse asserted his health when talking with reporters this afternoon about his move to Friday from his previously planned Wednesday start. Manager Tony La Russa said the rest would do the righty good, especially as he's been dealing with a sprained finger on his pitching hand.

Lohse told the writers what he's told the manager: The finger is fine.

He no longer receives treatment on the digit, and it has not inhibited him in any of his recent starts. He has had each of them cut short in terms of pitch counts, and a few of them have involved one inning that mushroomed on him.

"I don't want to seem OK with the job that I'm doing. I'm not OK with it," Lohse explained. "Myjob is to pitch when Tony tells me to pitch."

Lohse said he's not compromised by the finger, and that he's learned enough about pitching without his health the past two years to try and soldier through starts -- especially in this situation.

"I've done enouhg wondering what the (blazes) is going on with my arm that I know enough not to take the ball if I can't help the team win," Lohse said. "I'm going to do whatever they want me to do. Bottom line, we want to win games."

***

 

Cards shuffle rotation, Craig rejoins club

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he has repeatedly approached starter Kyle Lohse to check on his health because he knows the track record as well as any beat writer asking the questions daily about the righthander.

When Lohse has struggled, Lohse hasn't been healthy.

In part to give the righty another few days of rest between starts -- and, more so, to get Chris Carpenter in this series against the Brewers -- the Cardinals will bump Lohse back to Friday. Jake Westbrook will start on normal rest against the Brewers on Wednesday, and Carpenter will throw Thursday in the final game of the three-game series against Milwaukee.

"I know (in previous years) he's went out there at less than 100 percent," La Russa said. "We don't need him to do that. He says he's healthy. He says he feel good. Give him an extra few days and get out there vs. Colorado. ... The (rest) can't hurt."

***

Craig rejoins Cardinals, poised for return to roster

ST. LOUIS -- Outfielder Allen Craig has rejoined the Cardinals in St. Louis and will take part in the pre-game workout this afternoon before the series opener against the Brewers.

Craig is positioned to come off the disabled list Wednesday when Yadier Molina also is eligible to come back from his suspension. The Cardinals would likely go with two catchers, though the specific roster move has not been advertised, if it has even been determined.

Craig has been starting in left field for Class AAA Memphis during his rehab from a fractured kneecap. He legged out a triple in recent games, and he has regained the strength in his leg.

"He says he feels great. We'll watch him today," manager Tony La Russa said. "Anxious to see him."

Players are limited to 20 days on a rehab assignment, and Craig's time expires this week.

"That's not how the decision will be made," La Russa said. "It will be a combination of things."

***

La Russa skips Pujols tourney to meet with Commissioner

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa did not take part in Albert Pujols Celebrity Golf Tournament on Monday so he could attend, in person, the semi-regular meeting of Bud Selig's blue-ribbon committee to discuss the play of the game. La Russa is a member of the commissioner's hand-picked committee, which carries the official name of the Special Committee for On-Field Matters.

The committee met Monday morning, and while La Russa could have joined via phone he said it would have been an unfair interruption of the golf tournament to have to duck out or sit on the phone during 2 1/2 hours right in the middle of the event.

La Russa said he also had ARF business in New York with Major League Baseball and others, so he opted to attend the meetin in person.

Other members of the committee joined by phone.

"I would have been sitting there in the golf cart, talking, and that wouldn't have worked -- it went 2 1/2 hours," La Russa explained. "It just wasn't going to be fair to the tournament."

The committee is charged with helping to not only speed up the game on the field but also consider changes in the postseason and the expanded use of replay.

***

Freese returns to the lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Less than a week after getting hit in the head with a pitch caused a mild concussion and forced David Freese out of the weekend series in Florida, the Cardinals third baseman is back in the lineup just in time to face the rival Milwaukee Brewers.

Freese will start at third and bat sixth behind the muscle in the middle of the Cardinals order -- a trio that also expects to be in the middle of what happens in this three-game series.

The Brewers have limited the Cardinals' Big Three -- MV3.1? The HBP Line? -- to a sub-.200 average in the previous nine games of this series. Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday have combined to hit .188 (16-for-85) and slug .341 in the nine games against the Brewers so far this season. Pujols has three RBIs this season against the Brewers, and he and Berkman have combined for nine hits in 63 at-bats combined.

All three are in their usual spots for tonight's game. The Cardinals lineup:

1. Rafael Furcal, SS

2. Corey Patterson, CF

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Lance Berkman, RF

6. David Freese, 3B

7. Skip Schumaker, 2B

8. Gerald Laird, C

9. Edwin Jackson, P

Brewers lineup:

1. Corey Hart RF

2. Nyjer Morgan CF

 

3. Ryan Braun LF

 

4. Prince Fielder 1B

 

5. Casey McGehee 3B

 

6. Yuniesky Betancourt SS

 

7. Felipe Lopez 2B

 

8. Jonathan Lucroy C

 

9. Shaun Marcum P

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Baseball writers Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel cover the Cardinals for the Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com. They'll provide daily Cardinals updates here, from the start of spring training through the end of the season and beyond.

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