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Cards and Brewers battle at Busch

Cards Kolten Wong is greeted by teammates after scoring the second run of the game off a hit by Dexter Fowler in the fifth inning on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, during the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

The Cardinals managed to cut into Milwaukee’s early lead Wednesday night, but they didn’t get their final two at-bats due to rain and the game was called after 7 ½ innings, giving the Brewers a 5-3 win at Busch Stadium.

Milwaukee scored four runs in the first inning. The game went into a delay at 9:40 and was officially called at 10:46, dropping the Cardinals a ½ game behind the Cubs in the Central Division.

“We waited an hour and didn’t get an opportunity to finish a game that we scratched and clawed and felt like we were definitely in and felt good about winning, quite honestly,” manager Mike Shildt said.

The Brewers got to Wainwright quickly and ultimately decided the game with those runs before the Cardinals could hit.

Mike Moustakas delivered the big blow, hitting a three-run home run after Keston Hiura singled in a run. The Brewers had five hits in the inning and two of the outs were hard-hit balls, including a scorching line drive hit by Christian Yelich that was caught on the warning track by Harrison Bader.

Wainwright (9-9) was able to get through five innings after the rough start, but the Cardinals couldn’t do enough damage against Adrian Houser.

After Milwaukee added a run in the fourth inning, the Cardinals scraped together two runs in the fifth thanks to a pair of Brewers errors.

After the first two batters were retired, Bader reached safely on a throwing error by Moustakas. Yairo Munoz then hit grounder to the right of first baseman Eric Thames, who mishandled the ball. Houser got a late break to the base, so Munoz was awarded a single.

Dexter Fowler singled to score Bader with Munoz going to second. Munoz was then caught off the bag after a pitch to Kolten Wong, but catcher Yasmani Grandal threw the ball into center field, allowing Munoz to score.

The Cards scored another run in the sixth. Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong singled with one out and Yadier Molina doubled to score one run and leave runners at second and third with one out.

But Matt Carpenter and Harrison Bader struck out in succession to leave the potential tying runs stranded.

Game delayed after 7 1/2

The Cardinals and Brewers went to a rain delay at 9:40 p.m. with Milwaukee leading 5-3 after 7 1/2 innings at Busch Stadium.

Milwaukee opened a 5-0 lead against Adam Wainwright before the Cardinals scored two runs in the fifth thanks to a pair of Brewers errors and one in the sixth.

The Cards left runners at second and third in the sixth when Matt Carpenter and Harrison Bader struck out to end the threat.

The key to the inning for Milwaukee was Paul Goldschmidt's leadoff at-bat. He hit a sinking line drive to right field and Christian Yelich made a sliding catch before Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong singled and Yadier Molina doubled.

Cards pull closer

An inning of misplays by Milwaukee allowed the Cardinals to score two unearned runs in the fifth to cut the Brewers lead to 5-2 as rain closed in on Busch Stadium.

The first two hitters struck out before Harrison Bader reached safely on a throwing error by third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Yairo Munoz then hit a chopper to first base, where Eric Thames mishandled the ball going to his right. However, Munoz was awarded a single on a play that would have been close because pitcher Adrian Houser got a late break to the bag.

Dexter Fowler singled to score Bader and send Munoz to second. Munoz was caught off second with Kolten Wong at the plate but catcher Yasmani Grandal's throw sailed into center field, and Munoz came around to score.

Brewers add run

The Brewers added a run to take a 5-0 lead on the Cardinals when Keston Hiura slipped a looping fly ball past Marcell Ozuna for a double in the fourth inning.

Christian Yelich singled with two outs against Adam Wainwright. Hiura's ball seemed to be catchable but Ozuna was unable to reach it as it rolled past him in left field, allowing Yelich to score.

Wainwright had recovered from a rocky first inning to allow one hit until Yelich's single.

The Cardinals had one hit in the first three innings, but Kolten Wong's first-inning single was wiped out by a double play.

Brewers score 4 in 1st

Mike Moustakas delivered the big blow in Milwaukee’s four-run first inning Wednesday night, hitting a three-run home run to give the Brewers a big early jump on the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright at Busch Stadium.

The Brewers had five hits, two of the outs were hit hard and Wainwright walked one before escaping with a strikeout of pitcher Adrian Houser.

The inning started with Lorenzo Cain hitting Wainwright’s second pitch for a single to right field. Yasmani Grandal followed with a single before Wainwright retired Christian Yelich on a line drive that Harrison Bader chased down at the warning track.

Keston Hiura singled in the first run and Moustakas followed with his 31st homer. Ryan Braun followed with a double on a ball that evaded a diving Bader in center but was stranded.

Wong moves to No. 2

Kolten Wong says that hitting at the bottom of the Cardinals’ order has not been a point of contention for him, despite his .353 batting average since the start of July.

But he was clearly excited to become the No. 2 hitter for Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee at Busch Stadium.

That was made possible, in part, because Tommy Edman is out of the lineup with Matt Carpenter playing third base and Harrison Bader remaining in center field.

“I’m trying not to think about that kind of stuff,” Wong said. “Obviously it’s cool to hit at the top of the lineup, get more (at-bats), get into more situations where I can help the team win. When you’re at the bottom, you’re in situations where you’re just trying to get on base and hopefully something happens. But hitting second is going to be fun because I’m in the thick of things.”

Wong has pushed his average for the season to .274, the highest of any regular on the team. But he’s been hitting anywhere from sixth to ninth since the start of July.

His production has not been resulting much in the way of runs being scored, as he has crossed the plate only 14 times in the last 41 games.

“He’s clearly earned an opportunity to get advancement in the lineup,” manager Mike Shildt said. “He’s done a great job of lengthening the lineup, turning it over for other guys. But the opportunity presented itself. Tommy has done a nice job as well and giving Tommy a day off created an opportunity.”

Webb on a roll

Tyler Webb picked up his first career win Tuesday night and continued to add to his recent domination that started when he was recalled July 21. Since that time, the lefthander has made 12 appearances and allowed one run on four hits in 11 2/3 innings.

“I think it’s just a thing where you’re kind of in one of those grooves and you try to keep it going,” Webb said. “You do little things to get better every day and keeping it as simple as possible is what I’m trying to do. You stick to your strengths and try not to worry too much about the individual hitters. Execute well and good things will happen.”

O'Neill goes to Memphis

Tyler O’Neill will start a rehab assignment in Memphis tonight with no expectation of when he might be ready after suffering a minor hand injury. O’Neill was hitting .279 when he was hurt. He hit .301 in July while starting 21 games.

“There’s no crystal ball to that,” Shildt said. “He’ll be there tonight for three at-bats. We don’t have a magic number but it will probably be more than a couple of games for sure to get his continuity and timing back.”

Bader in lineup again

After a productive return to the Cardinals on Tuesday, Harrison Bader will remain in center field tonight to face Milwaukee at Busch Stadium.

Bader tripled, walked three times, scored two runs and made two diving catches in the 9-4 win. He will hit No. 8 again.

Matt Carpenter returns to third base with Tommy Edman taking a seat, and Kolten Wong — who is slashing .347/.429/.469 in August — moves up the order to No. 2.

CARDINALS LINEUP:

1. Dexter Fowler, RF

2. Kolten Wong, 2B

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Marcell Ozuna, LF

5. Paul DeJong, SS

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Matt Carpenter, 3B

8. Harrison Bader, CF

9. Adam Wainwright, P

BREWERS LINEUP:

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF

2. Yasmani Grandal, C

3. Christian Yelich, RF

4. Keston Hiura, 2B

5. Mike Moustakas, 3B

6. Ryan Braun, LF

7. Eric Thames, 1B

8. Orlando Arcia, SS

9. Adrian Houser, P

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